After a weekend away from your work, a vacation or even just a long day, it can be difficult to get back in the groove of things. Often times, we have a lot of things that need to get done, so our focus is scattered and it can be hard to know where to start.
If you often find your brain having too many tabs open, stop what you’re doing and implement this process to get re-focused and back on track so you can move the needle in the right direction and ACTUALLY be productive (not just busy).
Ideally, we encourage you to get in the habit of implementing this process each Sunday before your work week begins so that you have a head start and clear mind when you sit down at your desk on Monday morning.
Here’s how to do it:
#1: Brain Dump
First things first, brain dump allll of your to-do’s. Brain dumping is exactly what it sounds like – it’s getting everything that’s swirling around in your brain and putting it onto paper.
When we say write down everything, we mean EVERYTHING! From the kids school and practice schedules, to the life errands, to the work commitments, date nights, all of it. Anything that’s in your head taking up space, write it down ✍🏼
#2: Audit Using a Decision Making Formula – once you have your list, it’s time to audit using our favorite decision making formula:
(we didn’t make this up! you may have heard it referred to as Eisenhower’s Matrix)
Basically, this quadrant will help you determine the things in your life that are urgent and the things that are important. The point is to help you focus your time and energy on the things that matter the MOST! Around here, we call those things needle moving activities.
Here’s how it works:
1 – Urgent and Important: these are things with pretty urgent deadlines that need your attention immediately. Maybe there was a last minute work project that came up and it has to get done – you would push everything else to the side and do it. It could also be something that’s sort of an emergency that you must tend to.
You may find that these items won’t be on your brain dump list at all, because they often can’t be predicted. When they do come up, it’s okay! Simply adjust, do what must be done and get back on track.
2 – Not Urgent, but Important: this is where we want to live! From your brain dump list, pick out the things that don’t necessarily have strict deadlines, but things that DO move you closer to your long term goals.
These are tasks that no one is really asking you about and you won’t get in trouble for not doing them, but they are important for your life mission. These items can range from personal life things, like working out or reading daily, to big business things, like writing 3 emails for your product launch next month.
3 – Urgent, but Not Important: this is where you have to be honest with yourself! Typically, on your brain dump list there will be lots of little things that definitely need to get done, but don’t necessarily require your expertise to do them.
It’s tempting to fill your time with these because they are usually easy and make you feel like you’re being productive, when really you’re putting off the more important things. These are items that you’ll want to DELEGATE!
Common examples include grocery shopping, house cleaning or everyday errands, but this category can also include big business things like taxes, customer service emails, product shipping, etc.
This category will look different for everyone, so be honest with yourself when you’re auditing your list. What can you pass off to someone else so that you leverage your time well?
4 – Not Urgent and Not Important: and finally, there is the elimination category. Is there anything on your brain dump list that can be removed altogether? Again, this requires some honesty on your part! If something isn’t required for your life and doesn’t move you closer to a long term goal, chances are it can be eliminated completely.
These things may not appear on your brain dump list at all because they often come in the form of pre-existing habits that simply need re-evaluated. Some examples may include: binge watching Netflix at night, scrolling TikTok for too many hours, etc. In business, maybe you eliminate a product altogether because it’s no longer serving your mission.
Again, this category will look different for everyone, so get honest with yourself when you’re auditing!
#3: Create Your Game Day List – once you’ve auditing your brain dump list using the decision making formula, it’s time to ditch the traditional to do list and create what we call a Game Day List
Take a look at your brain dump list and focus on the things that you categorized as urgent, but not important. These are the tasks that you are PLANNING for! You want to make sure these are scheduled into your week (or day) to focus on because they are moving you closer to your goals.
Each day, we encourage you to pick 3-5 of these tasks (ideally there will be no more than 5) and that will be your Game Day List.
If you’re doing this process on a Sunday, you can go ahead and create your Game Day List for Monday and then you will refer back to your urgent, but not important tasks throughout the week to create your Game Day Lists each day.
This will ensure that you’re focusing on the RIGHT things, not ALL the things.
To help you do this well, you can download 5 days of Daily Deposit [for free] – this is our (not so) secret weapon to blast through resistance and move the needle daily. Learn more HERE!
For more support on this needle moving process, join the Winner’s Circle Facebook group – a collaborative community that’s committed to building habits that create winning leaders one deposit at a time 🏆