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The wisdom hidden in your to-do list

This week we have guest blogs from Bethan Woodward who has been a brilliant contribution on our calls. Last week, she wrote about our Creative Practices call. Here, she shares what the Get Stuff Done calls call gave her.

Bethan has her own digital marketing company Beth W Digital, and her website is bethwdigital.com 

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable”

Moliere

We’ve all written to-do lists in our lives, the chances are you’ve got one on the go right now. Whether you are a regular bullet pointer or the occasional scribble across the hand type; from phone notes, to notebooks, to fluorescent ‘post its’ on the fridge – it is often necessary to get that list of things that need doing out of our busy heads and into some kind of itemised order on a page.

But how effectively are we actually using our to-do lists? If the to-do list, and how much of it we achieve, is a measure of our goals and productivity, then what can we learn about ourselves by taking a closer look at what we put on it, what never gets ticked off it, and what, despite being important to us, never quite makes it on there in the first place?  

Before I joined Life Itself’s Get Stuff Done calls I was a sporadic list maker with little notion of what the word ‘accountability’ really meant. Between floating from task to task listlessly, creating checklists so long they overwhelmed me and using writing my list as a form of procrastination in itself, I came to realise that how you approach your to-do list is, in fact, quite important. 

I tried many things in search of the fix that would have me ticking off tasks: long lists, short lists, vision boards and voice notes; I even went as far as to turn my to-do list into a motivational letter of encouragement to keep my morale high… Still, something was missing. What was it? In all my experiments I was failing to hold myself accountable for the things that took months to get done and, more importantly, to examine the essential question of why I was not getting them done.

Enter the Get Stuff Done Calls. These calls bring together people from all walks of life, who are ready to get organised and get stuff done. As well as providing motivation to get up in the morning and set yourself up for a successful day with a kick-ass to-do list, the calls create a community of people ready to hold each other accountable and get into the nitty gritty of what is really stopping you from finishing that task that you wrote down six months ago.

Structured and led in a way that encourages each participant to become the best accountability buddy they can be, both for themselves and the other call members, Life Itself is providing a multi-functional service within the Get Stuff Done Calls. After members have submitted their daily to-do list to the WhatsApp Group, each session begins with food for thought on systems and ideas that stimulate productivity, followed by honest one-to-one conversations about our achievements (or more specifically non-achievements) of the previous day. No excuse is left unanalysed and no stone is left unturned. What worked? What didn’t work? Why is that thing on your list so important anyway? What’s the bigger goal here? It’s accountability meets peer coaching with the perfect mix of tough love and compassion thrown in.

Wisdom can be gleaned from the most unlikely of places and my to-do list surprised me beyond all others. Discussions around the importance of breaking down longer term goals had me marvelling at how little I had previously included steps towards my bigger dreams into my routine. I left armed with ideas on how to do so. One such idea is ‘swallowing’ and, more affectionately, ‘kissing’ the frog. Inspired by the Mark Twain quote,

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Mark Twain

‘The frog’ is the worst thing on your to-do list, that thing you’ve been avoiding. We identify it first with some self compassion (kiss) and then swallow it by getting it done. Even just identifying my frogs was revolutionary: imagine how I felt when I ate one. 

The calls provide tips and tricks and productivity hacks, yes, but more than that they are a community of support which holds a space for you to dive into the fears and blocks that are holding you back from being great. There is a solidarity in the sharing of what are often common hurdles, which can be a comfort and encouragement to explore and search for answers. Now, more than ever we need to create communities that uplift, support and encourage each other to be the best we can be and Life Itself provides space for that on these calls. 

So if you’re missing your office colleagues and lack motivation working from home, or if you’ve got goals that you want to start making real steps towards, or if you just want to add a bit of structure to your week…come and join us in January, dive deep into that list, kiss a couple of frogs and see what magic happens. 


Our next round of Get Stuff Done calls is now open for January 2021! Book today to start 2021 with a bang – to smash through your to-do list, discover your working style and be held accountable to your greatest by a supportive group!

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