Sunday, November 13, 2011

Do you have an 'ignore list'?

Most of us are busy, busy multi-taskers, so I know that many of you can relate to what I'll be talking about in this post.

So many of us have been groomed in professional development to be strategists, to prioritize - you know, make that list - the to-do list. The one that makes us feel good when we get things crossed off of it.

flickr photo by john.schultz
But, when we stray from it or fail to achieve the tasks scrawled in numerical order, the pangs that send us into the oblivion of guilt are cruel. (Or is that just me?)

The truth is, lists are great to help us figure out what is important and to keep us on track. But is that approach the only one to enhance productivity? No!

I ran across a blurb that almost defies (almost) the thinking that including only prioritized stuff should be included on a list.

Real Simple magazine compiled an interesting handful of ideas to get a morning off to a good start, and it really spoke to me. One grabbed my attention though: "The Ignore List".

I like it.

As a blogger, pet sitter, better half - I'm an admitted list-maker. People to contact, details to tweak, appointments to confirm, appointments to get to, errands to run. You get the idea. And it never ends.

Lists keep me sane. But this idea of ignoring things actually makes sense. The premise is to decide what's not worth doing. Check this out from Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get The Right Things Done:

Most people have a to-do list, but to succeed in today's distraction-prone world, you also have to ask yourself: What's not worth doing? Jot down what you're willing to disregard-e-mails you have no intention of responding to, vacuuming, the guilt of not vacuuming. Review the list from time to time to make sure that nothing on it is getting your undeserved attention.

It seems to go hand in hand with saying 'no' to things, which for most people is hard to do. Certainly it's an exercise in standing up to the adage that we need to be all, do all, accomplish all. It's just not possible.

This strategy is a great way to supercharge the start of your week, increase productivity and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Check out more spiffy ideas to make your day better in a recent post on Shine from Yahoo by clicking here.

Lorrie Shaw is a pet blogger and professional pet sitter/dog walker in Dexter Twp, MI and shares her life with her better half, Chris and their three pets. Connect with her on Google+ and Twitter.