A todo list to reduce stress and make you successful

How do we prioritize our work?

The two most famous models in the last fifteen years are the “7 habits” model and the “Getting Thing Done” model (although there are hundreds of others).  ( I use a more complex variation of the GTD model for myself).

I have found that there is a way to make a “small list” for those days when I am feeling overwhelmed or to make a “top of the list” when the full list is just too daunting.

Lately I’ve been using this model:

1) One thing that I’ve been putting off doing.

2) One thing that my boss (for a work list) or family member (for a non-work list) would like to see me do.

3) One thing that I would like to do.

4) One thing that will help me make progress toward my biggest goal.

5) One thing that I can do quickly.

Reducing stress

So what in the above list will lead to a life of reduced stress?

Starting at the top, #1 probably indicates something that you are afraid of or are unsure of how to do — both of those things add stress so it follows that doing that thing will eliminate stress.

Doing #2 will usually generate positive feelings between you and your boss or you and a family member.  Better relationships in those areas will generally reduce your stress.

Doing #3 will usually make you happy.  I hate the days where I work as hard as I can but the thing that I think is important or will be fun stays undone.

Doing #4 will NOT do much for short term stress but should help your long term stress as you see your overall goals coming to fruition.

Doing #5 just gets something off your list so that the next time you take a look, it’s a smaller list so that will also reduce your stress a bit.

Being more successful

Now let’s look at the list and see how these contribute to success.

Number 1 may or may not make you successful.  It will however help protect your reputation.  No one wants to have the reputation for not finishing tasks they have been given.

Number 2 is huge for your work success (although in non-work situations it may simply keep your family happy which is a success but not a milestone type of success).  From a work point of view, if you did the 300 most important things every year, I suspect that your boss would be pretty happy.

Number 3 may not help you be successful other than the stress reduction discussed above.  It depends on how well your “want to do” line up with your long term goals.

Number 4 is of course a huge impact on long term success.  Take a step toward your most important long term goal every day and you will reach your goal (assuming you make minor adjustments as necessary).

Quick List

When you aren’t making progress or you are just being swamped, take a break from your big to do lists and knock out the five things above and then go to sleep at the end of the night knowing that you’ve set yourself up for success and reduced stress.


Life’s a beach — Lessons in Perspective

The next wave rolled toward me.

“This one is gonna kill me,” I think as I bob on my boogey board.

I leap, take water up the nose, but don’t die.

I ride a wave, stand up, take two steps and get hit.

“That one blind sided me.”

Do you feel the love?

No?  Me neither.

It dawned on me that I could look at the waves in a couple of different waves.

Next time out into the water.

Wave 1: Pick me, ride me, picke me!

Wave 2: Yo Oz, skip him and ride me!

I grab a wave and it whispers in my ear … We are going all the way to the shore.

Now, do you feel the love?

Life is like the Ocean

Life is a lot like the ocean and opportunities are like the waves.

Some days the water is calm with very little rolling towards us.

Other days it is pounding and rolling.

“I can’t make money.”

That’s interesting because along with a job, I’m eeking out a decent return on prosper.com.  My brother is using options to make some money off of the sad news on oil companies.  And of course, I’m pounding away at my novels and short stories.

“I can’t get anything done.  My son wants me to go swimming with him.”

“Hey, my son still likes me enough that he wants to hang out with me.”

Same situation, different perspective.

An opportunity to build something permanent with my son.

I’ve said it before but

You only get one crack at today, better make it a good one.

Life is sending you messages.  No, it’s not some secret.  It’s just how life works.

Like the ocean, there are going to be some chances to make changes, to take steps forward, to repair the things that are broken.

Some days, you’ll get big waves  — a job change, a brilliant stock idea, a killer idea for a novel.

Some days, the waves are like glass and you have to look a little harder — watch a movie with your son or Stephen Strasburg’s major league debut.

It’s really all in how you look at it.

Life is a Beach

Life is a Beach. 

At least it is for me, today.

Each year my extended family takes a week out at Topsail Island ( we have a housesitter so don’t bother trying to burgle the place).  This year is going to be a hot one from the temps outside (7 AM and already in the 70s or 80s).

All of us can “go to the beach” even if we are in low paying jobs or only have a day or so off.  America is dotted (as are most other countries) with public lakes, parks, and beaches.

Part of life, no matter how good or how bad it seems at any time is to take time to enjoy and be thankful for what God has given us.

Spend a few extra dollars and get that cut of steak that you always crave.  Buy a small bundle of flowers for your wife or girlfriend.  Call several of your favorite people and ask them to meet at a park.

Anthony Robbins talks about “Celebrating for No Reason.”  

While there are many days when we need to knuckle down and work hard, there are also days to relax and enjoy the good parts and good people in our lives.