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To-Do List Wisdom from Mindy Kaling

It’s graduation season, which leads to plenty of people thinking about their long-term goals, not just college students. Often when we reminisce on the goals we had at graduation we focus on all the things we haven’t done.

But are we being too hard on ourselves?

Mindy Kaling thinks so!

When speaking at the graduation ceremony at Dartmouth College Mindy’s final advice to the graduating class was to “let it go.”

We may have a dozen goals in our head when we graduate and some of them may happen and some might not. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed or strayed from your path, just that life often doesn’t go the way you planned.

In previous posts I’ve talked of the importance of evaluating your long-term goals. It’s okay to accept that a goal might no longer be what you want or that you need to put it on the back burner while you focus on more important things. A perfect example of this is a woman I interviewed, author Karen Rizzo, she continually put “Learn Italian” on her list and guess what – never happened.

When evaluating long-term goals there are a few things to take into consideration:

Priorities – What we think is a top priority and what we actually spend most of our time and energy on can be two very different things. Depending on where we are in life our biggest priority can be different things, focusing on family, career or even our health.

Does your top priority line up with your daily habits? Check out the book Essentialism for ways to do this better. Maybe you want to get a new job, but you haven’t been to a networking event in months. Or you’re trying to take a step back with work, but still find yourself emailing at 10pm! Make sure your actions line up with your priorities. If they don’t then it might be time to reassess.

Diminishing Returns – The law of diminishing returns is used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

Essentially the more effort you put into something the less you get out of it. How annoying is that?

It’s good to remember though, when you feel like you’ve been pushing a goal or idea for too long – maybe it’s time to ease up a bit?

For example, how many times have you heard people say they found their romantic partner once they stopped looking? The same can be said for many other goals. I know a few people who have been stuck in the ‘research’ phase of writing a book, because they keep finding more and more information pulling them in different directions. At some point you just have to draw a line in the sand and start writing!

When it comes to your goals it’s as Mindy Kaling said –

“Don’t trust any one story of how to become successful.”

Find the path that works for you, it doesn’t have to look like what your 21-year-old self imagined.

 

(VIDEO) Priorigami App Helps to Prioritize Your To-Dos

I’m always on the lookout for new list-making apps that do more than just store your lists. Helpful, productivity-based apps are not always that easy to come by. Which is why I was excited when I first discovered Priorigami.

The founder of the app, Monisha Longacre was inspired by her love of the Fitbit, and brought its goal-driven style to her productivity app. I was so impressed I arranged a video chat with Monisha to discuss her app and how it can help people prioritize their day.

Check out the video here, where we discuss the following:

  • 3:10 – How to stick to your priorities
  • 5:15 – Why completing your list should feel as good as when you complete your 10,000 steps on your Fitbit!
  • 6:45 – How to create a priority system
  • 8:30 – Finding the prioritization method that works best for you
  • 9:00 – The afternoon shuffle up, or why you should always take a moment to re-think your priorities.
  • 10:45 – How to deal with lingering tasks
  • 12:30 – The importance of breaking your lists down into steps
  • 13:20 Monisha’s top tip!

Priorigami is a free app – if you download the app let me know what you think!

Put Yourself First This Year

When did more become better? Longer hours, bigger sacrifices, fewer hours of sleep. This is becoming the new norm for many people and even I get excited when I see an article that claims to have the secret schedule of the most successful people. But the truth is you don’t need to be getting up early to go to yoga, work a 10 hour day then get home and make a freshly-prepared home cooked meal, before you rush of to your child’s clarinet recital. I’m not the only one who has noticed this growing trend, it was a big topic of discussion at the Listful Thinking afternoon tea event and it was raised in my friend Cass McCrory’’s recent podcast interview.

Buying into the “more is more” philosophy can set you up for failure. It can lead to blaming yourself that if you just push a little more then you’ll be able to achieve all your goals. That’s not always necessarily true.

Truthfully, however, working harder can only help you up to a certain point. Beyond that it you may only get diminishing returns. This is the point  when the benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

After my appendix burst, I started taking a ‘just enough’ approach. I learned this when I interviewed Heidi Hanna, a stress expert, in my book Listful Thinking but didn’t really apply it til now. She told me to make a “just enough” list instead of bogging it down with lots and lots of to-dos. The list contains only the minimum requirements that I would feel like just enough after completing them.

The free time I have left over can be spent doing things I enjoy or that I want to work on. I find that in the long run prioritizing  my mental and physical well being, instead of just working hard all the time, has been a key part of my success. When you have more room to breath you have to more time to:

  • Think creatively
  • Be inspired with new idea
  • Concentrate on the task at hand

I’m challenging you to put yourself first this week! Make a ‘just enough list’ for today and share it with me on social media. (@ListProducer on Twitter, @ListProducer on Instagram, or here on Facebook) I’d also love to hear about the other ways you prioritize your well being.