I’m a compulsive To Do List maker. Every week I set up the week ahead, and part of it is a list of all of the To Dos that have plagued me since last week, plus all the ones ahead for this week.
Recently, I changed the word “TO DO” to “COMMITMENTS” to indicate that this wasn’t just a hope, it was a commitment.
If it was going on the list, I was committing to it. To myself, to another person, or to our company.
The result? The list got smaller, and the work got done.
Turning my weekly plan into a list of commitments reframed the work I’m doing, and gave each item just a little more gravity. Now, I think twice before adding to the list, so that each item on it is a commitment I can keep.
It works with meeting follow-ups and action steps too. At your next meeting, before leaving, try making a list of COMMITMENTS. Ask:
- What is the work we’re committing to do?
- Who is making the commitment?
- When should we expect this commitment to be complete?
The result may very well be fewer items on the “action steps” list. But there’s a lot better chance that they’ll actually get done.