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Subduing the Task List, Part II

So Part I of this process was an exercise in identifying a problem. It’s rare that I ever treat that effort formally, which is probably good for you since it left me less to talk about. And after doing that exercise, I’ve discovered that I think my todo list is out of control, and that’s causing me stress. (Wow, right there is all that’s important from Part I in just one sentence)

The next step in getting things under control is figuring out what I need to be doing, and I’ve got some simple questions that I can use to help me:

  1. Who do I serve?
  2. What do they need?
  3. What do they want?

Who do I serve?

For the sake of theatre, let me start with the answer: I’m trying to serve my clients.

Pretty obvious professional goal, that. But it’s also a personal goal. If you take a big-picture view of what a client is.

Everybody has clients. Businesses have customers, of course. Kids have their parents. Students have Teachers. Spouses have their partners. Always, the goal is to make someone a little happier. For money. For marks. For a little peace of mind while they watch TV.

But regardless of the reason, we all have people (or organizations) that we want to serve. These are our clients. And by considering all our clients as a whole, we’re positioned to (eventually) achieve a more complete, more balanced result. And that means that we’ll be more effective when we leap into action.

At least, I will be, since I’m the one doing this and you’re reading over my shoulder.

So let me count off my clients, starting from the most obvious. If you’re following along, see how many of these you can see coming:

  • My business clients
  • My own business
  • My friends and family
  • Me

The third list item shouldn’t be a surprise, not with the hints above. For other people, for you, the list may vary, and that’s okay. For me, it’s a decision based on my values. My people need my time, attention and care, just as much as the others. I know it can feel a little strange to think of calling your grandmother as a formal “task,” but isn’t she at least as important as the oil change we write into our calendars so we won’t forget?

The last client on the list souldn’t be a surprise either.  Yet, for some reason, it startles people to hear that I would treat my self as a client just the same as anyone else. I even understand why it’s not immediately obvious how I can be a client to myself. But client I am.

Because only person who can live my life is me.

Living my life is the goal. Building a better, happier me is the service that I provide to myself. Really it’s the only service that matters.

Everything else is in support of that. Everything I do, everything I provide, as a person, employee or as a business is with the intent of supporting my goals. Those goals are the things that I feel will give me satisfaction.

My life is my end, and what I do is my means, and while they might overlap, it’s important to remember they are not the same.

And that’s all the philosophy I’ll inflict this post. Hopefully.

What do they Want? What do they Need?

Once I’ve got a view of who I’m working for, now I’m able to start the actual process of figuring out what I need to do.

At this point, I brainstorm, a process I’ll talk about in detail some other time. The short description is that I just think of everything I can, without censoring or worrying if it makes sense or not.

So I think of what I need to do for my client, projects, tasks, assignments, promises, anything at all. And I write them all down, because if it’s important to my serving any of those clients successfully, it belongs on my radar.

This is where the client list is helpful, because it gives you things to think about when you slow down or get stuck. Ask your self what they want, and what they need.

And when that’s done, you’ll be sitting at the mother of all todo lists.

Photo by vaXzine

Posted in life, tips.

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2 Responses

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  1. Pam says

    Ooh… you should TOTALLY put up your “to do” list here!! Yay to do lists… yay lists!!

    Yay post… wow… too much coffee here 🙂

  2. elevenser says

    Yes, can we see your “to do” list? Because I’m certain it’s got an item or two involving Creativity. 🙂

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