As I was running errands today I noticed I was feeling a sense of urgency about getting lots of little chores done. As is my habit I asked myself, “What’s this urgency about? What motivates me to knock action items off my to do list?” What came to me is that I wanted a clean slate so writing and other difficult tasks would be easier to do. Years of running a business has taught me that I can be most productive with really difficult and important tasks, like writing and designing seminars, when I clear out all those little tasks.
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, describes tasks that need to be done as attention units. Whether you have tasks written down on a to do list or not, whether you are conscious of them or not, items that need to be done, even little piddly items, take up space on the hard drive in your head.
To-do items are a form of mind clutter. Your space might be neat, but if your head is teeming with tasks that need to be done, you may find yourself stuck having difficulty getting the mental clarity you need to efficiently and effectively take action on important tasks.
How many items have accumulated on your to-do list? Make it a point to clear off as many of those tasks as you can. Then notice how you feel and where you focus once those attention units have been eliminated. Being stuck is a choice. Clear incomplete tasks and get moving!