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Blog > Approach Your To-Do List with These 5 Executive Coaching Strategies

Approach Your To-Do List with These 5 Executive Coaching Strategies

Reduce the chaos by streamlining your to-dos
Woman updating to-do list

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You’re probably aware that just about everyone is stressed — and if you weren’t entirely sure, a 2022 Hill article might convince you.

The article looked at multiple studies on stress and found that nearly 40% of survey respondents said they were so stressed daily that they could not bring themselves “to do anything”; more than 20% had become more forgetful; 20% were unable to concentrate; and 17% had difficulty making decisions. More than 30% felt stress on “most” days, and about a third likewise said their stress had negatively impacted their mental and/or physical health.

In essence, most people are grappling with stress, which is detrimental not only to individual health but also to organizations that depend on the productivity and performance of their teams. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that an excessive workload doesn’t become an additional source of stress for you or your team.

By implementing the below five effective strategies, which are often covered in executive coaching, you and your team can effectively handle feelings of being overwhelmed and successfully tackle an overflowing to-do list.

Strategy 1: Delegation

Delegation might sound easy — just assign some of the tasks on your plate to other members of the team — but it can be a difficult skill to master. Effective delegation requires knowing who on your team is best suited for each available task, how to communicate what’s required for that task effectively, and then trusting your team members, wholeheartedly, to achieve those delegated tasks. This also requires overcoming psychological barriers that might be standing in the way of delegation, such as perfectionism.

If you’ve yet to use delegation for your benefit, begin by assessing your task list to identify what tasks can be delegated — often tasks that are timely, but not so important that they require executive action. For example, a financial team lead might increase team output by delegating analytical tasks.

Once you’ve decided on the tasks to delegate, be selective in choosing the right person to delegate the task to, and then provide them with crystal-clear instructions. Follow up with them as needed, but don’t micromanage (which defeats the purpose of delegating).

If the idea of delegating still makes you uncomfortable, or you’re not seeing the results you want from it, it might be time to work with an executive coach who can identify where things might be going wrong. You can also try delegating in your personal life first, to warm up to the idea, such as by delegating weekly grocery shopping to a delivery service to save time.

Strategy 2: Focus

When faced with an intimidating to-do list, the key is to hunker down and channel your concentration, allowing you to swiftly and competently tick off tasks one by one. This approach requires a single-minded focus, setting aside the temptation to multitask. Employing techniques that boost concentration, such as time blocking and the Pomodoro Technique, can significantly enhance your efficiency in tackling your to-do list.

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Strategy 3: Prioritization

Should your plate be overflowing with tasks, it’s wise to trim your to-do list by prioritizing. Apply prioritization strategies and frameworks, such as the Eisenhower Matrix, to methodically reduce your daily commitments.

The Eisenhower Matrix splits tasks into important and time-sensitive tasks, important and non-time-sensitive tasks, non-important and time-sensitive tasks, and non-important and non-time-sensitive tasks. Using the matrix, you would complete important and time-sensitive tasks first, as your priority for the day. Then, with time left over, you would tackle important and non-time-sensitive tasks. Then, you would delegate non-important and time-sensitive tasks, and you would completely remove non-important and non-time-sensitive tasks from your to-do list altogether.

At its core, the Eisenhower Matrix inspires you to put tasks with the highest ROI first, just like a portfolio manager ranks investment opportunities based on potential return and risk. This might look like prioritizing personal health by scheduling workouts before less critical leisure activities or finishing an important client project to meet a deadline before sifting through your inbox.

Strategy 4: Mindset

Often, the way we manage stress and tackle our to-do lists hinges on our mindset. If you find yourself weighed down by stress, dwelling on the drawbacks, consumed by the thought that you’ll never complete all your tasks, and yearning to be rid of your obligations, your coping mechanisms are likely to falter.

Attempt to look at these challenges with a growth mindset. How can you overcome this stress, with a positive outlook, and learn from these moments? For example, a CFO might reframe a financial challenge as an opportunity for creative problem-solving, or someone overcoming a personal failure might focus on the learning experience rather than the setback.

Check-in with yourself regularly, to ensure your emotions aren’t ruining your mindset. If you struggle with gaining control of your emotions when faced with an overwhelming to-do list, coaching can play a pivotal role in recognizing and altering unhelpful thought patterns.

Strategy 5: Executive Coaching

Lastly, consider executive coaching to effectively implement and integrate all the above strategies within your organization. Whether you’re a business leader hoping to enhance team dynamics and productivity, or an individual seeking a coach to advance in your own career and achieve your personal goals, coaching — so long as you select an executive coach suited to your needs based on experience, style and specialization — will provide you with the accountability, support, and personalized guidance you need to live a more fulfilling lifestyle.

The Bottom Line

As the tempo of both professional and personal life continues to quicken, managing an expanding array of tasks can be a source of stress for even the most experienced individuals. Yet, envision transforming your to-do list into a narrative of triumph, where the chaos gives way to clear-headedness and command.

The strategies mentioned above are designed to help you navigate the overwhelm of an overflowing to-do list. Executive coaching can tailor these techniques to your unique situation and provide the accountability you need to put them into practice. Schedule a results coaching call with an Arootah Executive Coach to begin refining your time management skills.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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