Well, scoosh on over here next to me, and I’ll tell you …
All productivity advice boils down eventually to “Do the work.”
If you think that’s something, just wait ‘til you hear this next part …
Most productivity tips and strategies are just psychological mind games you can play with yourself to overcome your resistance to “Do the work.”
And the tip I’m about to share with you? No different.
But that’s OK. Because if it all boils down at its essence to “get off your ass and just DO it,” then the only thing left we can do is to remove the obstacles to “doing.”
This tip is one way to help you do just that.
The Productivity Strategy: MIST – The Second List
Ordinarily, I’m a big proponent of the “keep ONE to-do list” rule.
OK, maybe it’s more of a suggestion than a rule. Anyway.
There are, however, those times in the life cycle of your average couch warrior, solopreneur, & creative worker extraordinaire that require throwing the rule – er, suggestion – right out the damned window.
During those times, you need a second list.
But not just any list, cupcakes. A special list.
My peeps, you need a MIST List.
(Hey, look at that. It rhymes!)
It stands for “Most Important Shit Today.” (Or, for the G-rated among you, “Most Important Stuff Today.”)
It’s just a short list (very short – like, three-things short) of the (quelle surprise) most important things on that one list for today only.
When to Use the “MIST” Strategy
The MIST list is kind of like going nuclear. You don’t wanna press that button prematurely. Instead, save it for when you really need it.
When is that? Two specific kinds of circumstances that I’ve identified so far:
- When you’re overwhelmed with more than two complex projects and having trouble keeping all the balls in the air (get your mind out of the gutter – that’s a juggling reference)
- Or when you’re working like a dog but have this sinking feeling that no matter how hard or much you work, you’re losing sight of the brass ring, and the truly important shit isn’t getting done
Making Your MIST List
To make your MIST List, you can try a number of approaches.
You can start with your main list, and then drill down to the ten most important things, then the six most important things, then the top three. (It’s always easier to drill down in increments, by the way. Don’t try to go from 100 to 3 in one fell swoop. It’s crazy-making and takes way longer.)
If you’re more comfortable creating than editing, you can start from scratch. Just get comfy, get meditative, and ask yourself “If I could only do three things today, what three things would be most satisfying?”
Or if you’re worried about the big-picture and losing sight thereof, start with the end result in mind, then work backwards with two simple questions:
- What is it you’re trying to produce here?
- What are the next three steps you can take towards making that production a reality?
Getting MIST-y On You
Have you ever tried working with a MIST list before (even if you called it something else)? Does it help you get more done, or at least feel more focused? Share your best advice for others in the comments!