Momentum Podcast: 707

How To-Do Lists Destroy Productivity

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Your “to-do” might be robbing your productivity.

Alex Charfen, a business growth coach who helps entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses, gives practical, tangible, and actionable tips that you can implement into your business right now.

If you are anything like me, then you've probably tried more than one (way more than one) planner or organizing system. In my experience, most of the planners I tried to use have been so complicated they took more time than what I was getting back from planning. Either that or others that I have tried to use just became a to-do list and had little to do with strategically moving me forward.

I felt like I had tried everything and it just wasn't working so I decided to create a solution myself. I spent about five years researching and studying how humans plan and achieve.

By the end of this 17-minute podcast episode, you will be able to answer:
– What question should we ask ourselves?
– How should we create a plan to actually be successful?
– What is missing from most people's planning and execution efforts that hold them back?

The Momentum Podcast is created specifically for entrepreneurs like you to get into momentum and take the rest of the world with you. If this episode helped you do that, take a moment and leave a review. Let us know how we have helped you make a bigger impact on the world.

As I researched, I got better at planning myself, and as I pulled more information together, a clear strategy started to emerge. I started to see how as entrepreneurs the planning that we are doing is holding us back, it's actually taking away our momentum. With some simple adjustments, the planning we are doing will not only create momentum for us but will keep us there. Go to to get started.

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Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum podcast.

Your to do list might be robbing your productivity if you're anything like us, then you've probably tried more than one way, more than one planner or organizing system. Most planners are so complicated that they take more time to do than you get back from the planning in the first place. Others just become a long string of to do items and have little to do with strategically moving you forward. If you felt like this, you are not alone. In this episode of the Momentum podcast, Alex is going to share with you his research into how humans plan and achieve. By the end of this episode, you'll be able to answer the questions of what questions we should ask ourselves, how we should create a plan to actually be successful, and what's missing from most people's planning and execution that holds them back.

The answer just might be more simple than you think.

I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop. And we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate. There could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.

We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.

You know, today, this, this, this this broadcast is all about one simple subject to do lists and how you can keep your to do list from becoming a to die list. So let me tell you in in explaining this, I want to I want to tell you a little bit about my story, my personal story. So, you know, as a as a kid, I was one of those people who was challenged to be productive. Does this does this resonate with you? I was one of those people that had a hard time in school. I had a hard time getting things done. Honestly, I had a hard time getting out of the house in the morning. It was very difficult for me to kind of put things together, to get things done, to get things going forward. And so I started using process and structure and routine that young before I knew what it was, I was fighting process, structure and routine, but I was using it at the same time. And as a kid, I started with a morning routine and then I started using to do list.

And I remember the rudimentary list that I used way back when I was a kid was in one of those composition notebooks. I would write a list and then I would check things off and I would add things to the bottom of the list. And that's where my first feeling of to do list being a to die list came in because I had this never ending growing list.

And I'll let you in on the joke. Here's why I called to do list to die list, because if you're an entrepreneur like me, then you know, there's stuff on your to do list right now that's been carried over so many days, day after day after day after day. It's going to be there when you die. And I started getting that feeling when I was really young and. I just kept using to do lists like I didn't fix that, I just I kept using them as a way to be productive.

And then I started looking at planning systems. I wanted to get a system that would help me get organized. And when I go out to find a solution for something, I'm one of those people that goes in, goes all in, like I want to find a planning system. So I tried everything. I tried the daytime out system. I tried the R.P.M. system from Tony Robbins. It was around back then. I tried the Franklin Day planner. I tried so many different planning systems.

And here's what happened with almost all of them. There was a level of complication and frustration that made it so that I just ended up using them like a to do list. So I would get these new planning systems that were supposed to get me out of this, like never ending to do, start creating new outcomes, start creating more progress in my life. And I would just end up using them again as to do lists, especially the Franklin plan. Now, that was the one that I stuck with the longest. Any other Franklin survivors out there? I kind of I only joke about being a Franklin survivor. Here's why I say that. It took me probably about six or seven years to realize what was happening with all of these non future based planning systems, all of these systems that were right here in the moment.

Helping me achieve what they were also doing is keeping me in a very tight execution loop. I was just getting what I needed to get done. I wasn't getting I wasn't making a ton of forward progress. I wasn't really getting out there and making things happen. And it took me forever to figure this out. In fact, I was buying Franklin planners for most of my team when I finally realized that they were somewhat destructive.

And and I hate to say that like to speak ill of another company, because I think the Franklin plan is actually amazing for everybody but entrepreneurs. I think the entrepreneurial personality type needs something new and the entrepreneurial personality type needs something different. And we need to be able to to have a planning system and an execution system, a to do list system that does the following. As entrepreneurs, we get up every morning. We go into the future, we create a new reality. We come back to the present. We demand it becomes real and we need a planning system that goes right there with us into the future, create a new reality, come back to the present and make sure everything you're doing on a daily basis is getting you to that greater reality. Now, this is why this is so important. If you're an entrepreneur, then you know what it feels like when you are not connected to that reality in the future.

Or maybe you don't let me share some of the symptoms with you, see if you are just in a present in the moment tactical execution loop, that's not tied to the future as an entrepreneur. Here's what you might find. You might find yourself procrastinating. You might find yourself not doing the things you know you need to get done. You might find yourself not doing as much as you know. You can't you might find yourself with that to die list getting longer and longer and longer and the accomplishments getting shorter and shorter and shorter. And you might find it harder and harder to get things done. This is what was happening to me. I was beating myself up for procrastination. I was beating myself up for not getting things done. I was being beating myself up for this never ending tactical list of things that were growing.

And here's what was really going on for me. I wrote some notes down here. See, the to do list wasn't enough. The reason that I was procrastinating, the reason I wasn't getting the right things done, the reason I had so many things on my to do list that weren't being accomplished is that there was no intention behind them. I didn't there was no bigger meaning behind them. There was no reason why I was getting them done other than I just slapped them down on a sheet of paper. And the reality was, the more I procrastinated, the more I didn't get things done, the less of a connection I had to that future I was trying to create. Does this resonate? See, as an entrepreneur, when we can clarify that future and we can see it and it's crystallize and then we create a plan so that we know everything we're doing on a day to day basis is like a slingshot sending us towards that future. We will get things accomplished. We will get things done more in momentum. We will make things happen. In fact, I thought back through periods of my life when I was in momentum, when I was excited about when I was doing when I was when I was making things happen, when the world was falling in my wake, when I was like bending reality around me.

And what I remembered was I had a clear connection to the future. I knew my plan. I had a clear outcome. I knew where I was going.

I understood with perspective where I was. So I knew whether I was making progress or not. And I knew what my role was and the planning systems I was using, rather than create that that condition for that feeling of momentum and knocking things down and bending reality around yourself, they created the condition of just getting things done in the day. They created the condition of just tactically executing and it just wasn't enough for me. And if you've ever felt those symptoms of procrastination or hesitation or not getting things done and you beating yourself up a little bit, then maybe the system you have isn't for you.

Maybe you're beating yourself up because in some way you're being protective about not getting things done in some way, not getting things done. Is you not wasting your time because you don't have that connection to where it's really going. So you normal people, they can just execute. But entrepreneurs, we need to have a motivation behind it. We need to feel it. I remember when I was younger adults saying things like pay attention and it would be so hard for me to understand because when I care about something, I didn't have to pay anything. I just could absorb it like crazy. I was into it. I was engulfed in it. I just I wanted as much as I could possibly get. And when I didn't care about something like algebra, I couldn't freaking understand. For the life of me, I thought about algebra so much I had to take the class twice, just like Albert Einstein. But that's why it was so frustrating for me when I was younger that that, you know, if if it wasn't connected for me, then I didn't want to do it. And so as adults, as entrepreneurs, as people who are out trying to change the world and make things happen and create a new future, what we have to ensure is that we know what we're doing on a daily basis is going to get us through our long term, long term outcomes.

And that is why a to do list actually gets you stuck. If all you're using is a to do list without creating a strategic plan for where you're going without having those to do is come off of a greater plan that is getting you to your long term outcome. You will continuously found, you find yourself stuck, you'll continuously find yourself not doing as much as you should do. Feeling that feeling of procrastination, feeling that slowdown that led down, not making things happen. I want to reverse this for you. And the way that this works, the way that you fight, having a to die list, the way that you make it so that your to do list is not your to die list. Instead, the way that you make it so that your to do list gets accomplished and feels easy and feels automatic is you make it so that it's not a to do list. So no one first thing you need to do is create a strategic plan for yourself to know where you're going to have have clarity on where you're going. Here's what I know about you as an entrepreneur. Test this like feel this. Don't just hear this. See if what I'm saying is true. When you know where you're going and you're excited about the outcomes and you know what's going to happen, you will take the accelerator pedal, smash it to the floor and leave it there until you get to where you're going. Am I right? If you're not mashing the accelerator pedal to the floor, here's what I know about us as entrepreneurs, we slow down, procrastinate, don't move forward when we don't have clarity around what we're doing each day, connecting us to our greater outcomes and goals. And so when you have a strategic plan for your future, then your to do list becomes nominal, becomes easy. It becomes something that just happens so that you can move forward. And the way that you fight a to do list is to make sure that there's an intention behind everything you do because your to do list will become a to do list when you're just checking boxes. But when the boxes you're checking are going to help people around you, when the boxes you're checking are going to grow your business, when the boxes you're checking are going to make things happen for people you care about, then the world gets easier. We get into momentum. We start getting through tactical things like a knife through butter, and we make things happen. We create the reality we want to create. And so if you're an entrepreneur who's felt like you're procrastinating or you're stuck or you're not doing as much as you could and you're using some type of a to do list process, here's the easy way to elevate yourself above this one creative strategic plan. So you know where you're going when you have confidence in that plan, you will be in momentum. You will execute more than you ever thought possible, and you will go out and get the results you want. You'll create the results you want. You will manifest the results you want in this world, too. If you're in that place where the to do list has degraded, tie it into your future. You have a strategic plan. Now, make sure that that to do list is everything you're doing is tying into your future. You can see it happening. It's part of something bigger. Here's a reality for us as entrepreneurs when we feel tactical pressure in the moment when it's all about the moment, when it's all about the long to do list, we're overwhelmed. But when we feel pressure for the future, when we feel strategic pressure to make an outcome happen in the world, to change the world, to make our dent in the universe, the tactics around us are accomplished with ease. It's like our entire perception of what's going on changes. And if you're in that place, where to do list has become a Denyer listed. This is how you walk yourself out of it. Now, this is something that we help people do, and I would love to be able to help you. In fact, the momentum plan, our system that I was talking about earlier, is not just a physical planner. It is that and is it is the best physical planner on the market for entrepreneurs, in my opinion, and is the only physical planner that it was created specifically and exclusively for the entrepreneurial personality type. When you look at this planner, it's not like most of them out there has big white board spaces on it, and it even has a place where on a daily basis, you create your intention as to exactly what you're going to do. And when you have the following every morning and your planning when you connect to your greater plan, when you verify with intention everything you're doing that day is leading you to where you want to go. And you sit down and you plan your day with intention. You will achieve and accomplish and move forward in a way that you may never have felt was possible.

Don't let yourself get stuck with a to die list and don't let yourself get stuck for years like I did in that tactical execution. Or you're just getting things done on a daily basis without looking up and saying, where am I going? And does it matter? Because when you finally do ask yourself, where am I going? And you get really clear on the future you want to have in your life, you will magnetically attract the energy, the people, the things, the knowledge, the information you need to go out and create that future. A lot of people these days talk about the power of attraction and manifestation. The reality is, the more clear the destination, the more powerful the attraction and the more powerful the manifestation. I want to help you get there. This is like manifestation on steroids. So let go of the procrastination and the challenges and the issues you've had with giving getting things done and instead hook into that greater future. Your to do list will become easy. It'll stop being a to die list and you will go out and make the change you want to see in the world. And if you're interested in checking out the momentum plan, our system, we just launched it two days a relaunched it two days ago. We keep running out of inventory and having a hard time relaunching this. You can go to Charfen dot com forward, slash m p. S like momentum, plan our system and check it out. It's on an incredible deal right now and I'd love to have you in it. Appreciate you all.

Thank You For Listening!

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With gratitude,


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