I’m all about technology but this To Do hack is super simple and super effective. And sadly, the technology (Wunderlist) that I mentioned was killed by Microsoft to force us to use To Do instead.

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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week I am coming to you from cold and snowy Portland, Maine. I’ve been hanging out with agency owners this week and we’ve been talking about a lot of topics but one of the topics that keeps coming back is this idea of the ever growing to do list and how do you make sure that you get your most vital priorities taken care of every day? So like many of you, I keep a master to do list. I use a tool called Wunderlist, W-U-N-D-E-R-L-I-S-T that is an app that sits on my phone, my iPad, my laptop and syncs so wherever I add a task or cross off a task, obviously in the cloud it sort of checks off the box up there and it shows up on all my devices so it’s a great way for me to stay current no matter what electronic I’m using to sort of add to or subtract to the list and my list on Wunderlist is a long, ginormous list, much like, I’m sure, many of your to do lists are. It includes things that I have to get done now. It includes recurring tasks. It includes something I need to remember to do in September like pay my property taxes and it also allows me to delegate tasks to my team so we use it also as a team sport tool but what it doesn’t do, is it doesn’t help me identify what I absolutely have to get done today because it’s such a big list that when I go through all of it, it’s a little overwhelming. And so I have found a very hi-tech hack to making sure that I am spending my time on the most important things every single day and I want to share that with you so here’s my hack. It’s the Post-it note. And you’re going to roll your eyes at me, you’re going to dismiss this as a simple stupid idea but I’m telling you, for me, and for many agency owners that I coach, this has been a game changer. And so what I do is every night before I close down for the night is I identify the three, not the four, not the two, not the one, not the six, the three things that I must get done tomorrow, they are my most vital priorities and I put them on this list and I put it right on my computer or I put it right next to my computer and in the morning, I know these are the things I have to get done. So if I have a meeting that starts at 8 a.m. what it means is, depending on what’s on my list, I may have to get up at six to get at least two of those things done before the end of my day. My goal is to get two of the three items done before noon or if I’m in an all day meeting that’s going to go into a dinner or something else, sometimes I make myself get all three of them done before I start my meeting and that little bit of discipline, with this simple little tool means that I am not thrown off my game. That when I go into the office or I go into a meeting and all of a sudden crises surround me, right, just like for all of you, there’s fires everywhere and we literally go, I have to go find the biggest fire and put out that fire. Then I’m going to run to the next fire, then I’m going to run to the next fire. What this does for me is it reminds me that, while it is fine for me to spend part of my day putting out fires that I didn’t know were going to get started, that I have some responsibilities and I need to make sure that these get done and so the blend of the very simple, I can be anywhere and I can have this. I can stick it in my pocket, I can keep it on my laptop but it’s a constant annoying reminder of this commitment that I have made to make sure that I am doing the work that needs to be done and I am doing it in a timely fashion so that it serves my company best. So, what I’m suggesting to you is, while I get that all of you are using hi-tech electronics to sort of keep your master list, that something like this that just sort of sits next to your computer, that also by the way, forces you the night before to begin thinking about how you’re going to accomplish these tasks, I’m a big believer in sort of letting some of that stuff percolate in the back of your head, this is the way that you make sure that you’re getting your most vital priorities done every single day. I know you think it’s simple, I know you think I’m a little crazy but try it for 30 days and tell me how much more you do or don’t get done at the end of those 30 days. I think you’re going to be surprised. I’ll see you next week.

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