The keep-doing list…

People all over the world are incredibly busy. Their working hours are getting longer. Even with more time being spent working, to-do lists never come to an end.

In all of the years we’ve worked in elite sport, no-one’s ever talked about time management . Punctuality, yes, but time management, no. There’s a lot that gets done, but time is used, not managed.

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High performance headlines

  • When you know what the successes are you’re striving for and the performances you need to produce to deliver the success, then you make great choices about how to use your time
  • Managing your energy and where you focus your attention is a critical foundation to have in place before you worry yourself with time management
  • When you’re set up for success you’re focused on what you need to keep on your to-do list, not what you need to get off it


The full viewpoint

If you’re going to be successful at anything, there are a few things that have to be in place. First, you need to know what the success is you’re aiming for. Second, you need to work out what you need to be great at in order to produce that success. Third, you need to keep your energy levels high enough so that you can keep being great at doing those things you need to do. Fourth, you need to do the things you need to do, one day at a time, as well as you possibly can. Finally, you need to regularly check your progress to make sure you’re doing things well enough and keeping your energy high enough to keep going.

As a very high-level list, we think these five things form the basis of the essential ‘keep-doing’ list. Rather than classic time-management to-do lists and getting things done, high performance means being great at the things that you need to keep doing , because they’ll always help you succeed.

High performers know that to-do-lists on their own don’t work. They just make people feel like they’re completing a never-ending list of one off tasks where the challenge is about reducing the size of the list. That’s just not how high performance works. All great athletes know that being brilliant at the basics is critical to success. That means a constant to-do-list that’s repeated in training and matches – it’s not about executing tasks so that you never to have to worry about them again.

Sure, you can still use to-do-lists. We’re o.k. with that. But we’d much prefer it if they were only ever used once a really great ‘keep-doing-list’ has been created. We’re also pretty confident that if you get a keep-doing-list, you’ll have to worry a lot less about to-do-lists as you’ll be focused on performing, not just completing one-off actions.

What would your keep-doing-list look like if you had the task of writing down the 10 essential ingredients for achieving success over the next 6 months? It might include stuff to do with:

  • Maximising your energy levels for being the best you can be each day at work
  • Feeling really ready for the repeat meetings and actions that represent your brilliant basics
  • Keeping good quality relationships with all of the key people you know you need to work brilliantly with
  • Feeling like you’re developing in your job, strengthening strong stuff and getting better at stuff you don’t think you’re good enough at yet

We reckon that by focusing on being brilliant at that keep-doing-list, designed to create a platform for doing the things you need to do, you’d feel a lot more in control of the day-to-day more of the time. We reckon you’d feel more confident more of the time. We also reckon you’d naturally make good decisions about how to use your time every day, rather than obsessing with how to manage it.

Managing your time is a waste of time.