To-dos can be deceiving because an activity is not an achievement.
“Leave 10 voicemails” is easy to check off, with an assumption they may lead somewhere. But what if the goal wasn’t to merely leave voicemails, but to “receive enthusiastic interest from Mr. X”?
The problem is, if the voicemails yielded no reply, the to-do is still checked off. You ‘succeeded’, even when your goal remains unachieved. Mr. X isn’t enthusiastic yet–you’ve yet to even speak.
Consider replacing your To-do List with a Result List. It has 3 components:
- What Result do we want? This is the ‘What’, not the ‘How’, behind this item on your list. For example, “receive enthusiastic interest from Mr. X.”
- Why do we want that result? This is the ‘Why’, not the ‘How’, behind this item. For example, “Mr. X. has enormous value our tribe could benefit from.”
- What are all the ways we could achieve it? This is the list of all the possible ‘Hows’ you could utilize in order to achieve the ‘What’ in #1. For example, “Voicemail, email, send our book, hand-written letter, intercept at a conference”, the list is endless.
After a method in #3 creates the result in #1, you toss out the rest of the items in #3. Why do the rest? Your result was achieved!
Ticking off a to-do does not mean achievement, but working through divergent approaches toward a single goal–while being mindful of why you’re doing it–ensures achievement.
Consider your to-do list: how could you turn it into a Result List?