Life and never-ending to-do lists seem to go hand in hand. We cross one item off seven more appear while carrying the stress of “never having enough time.”
In our pursuit of greater productivity, we seek out the newest book, app, or software program to help us get things done and experience increased productivity.
But what if lack of productivity isn’t the problem?
We understand what needs to get done; the tasks are staring us in the face taunting us from our endless list.
Our struggle isn’t a lack of productivity or understanding of what needs to accomplish but a lack of clarity as to where to place our focus.
We receive emails with to-do’s; we walk out of meetings with assigned to-do’s that pile on top of our laundry list of to-dos we already had written down.
Being peppered with multiple tasks day in and day out won’t stop, this is the nature of work.
So how can we gain greater clarity around our to-do’s? I honestly believe it comes down to one thing, clarifying expectations.
If you or your boss decides something is worthy of landing on your to-do list, then it becomes one of your ‘priorities”.
The funny thing about priorities is you can only have one at a time thus the need to clarify expectations.
The definition of Expectation is: “A belief that someone will or should achieve something.”
Expectation goes beyond the tasks of work to the psychology of work.
We have our to-do list, and then we have the voice in our head wondering if we are meeting the expectation of our boss.
So how do we calm the voice in our head? Have real, honest conversations around your work.
We clarify expectations by asking the simple question
“When does this task need to be completed?”
The only way to know what can wait is to have clear, set times and dates that create natural boundaries for your work.
When we are assigned tasks that lack precise schedules we tend to push aside our work to ensure we get the bosses tasks completed which causes us to lose focus on work that might be more important.
Can your boss insist that you push all other work aside to complete an assigned task? Of course, but it is then your job to clarify expectations by clearly communicating what you have on your list of to-dos and how focusing on the newly assigned tasks will affect your other work load.
Clarifying expectations around your work by identifying deadlines and due dates will calm the voices in your head and give you a greater understanding on where to place your focus.
How do you establish clear expectations around your work? What would you add? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts!