Many of us try to keep ourselves organized by creating an action plan or a to-do list. At the beginning of the day, you write down everything that you have to do, and then you spend your day ticking items off the list. But when you get to the end of the day, too often there are a lot of things left, and that can leave you feeling like the work is never done.
Perhaps the problem isn’t so much that there’s so much that needs to get done, but the fact that you’re putting everything on one long to-do list. You can actually organize your thinking and organize your time just by changing your to-do list.
Having a detailed daily action plan can help you stay focused: It’s called the catalyst. In science, a catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without being consumed in the process. For you, your catalyst is an action that dramatically increases the rate at which you achieve your vision – without it consuming you.
The CATA-list action plan is divided into 4 categories:
- Tasks and
The catalyst: To find your catalyst, ask yourself one thing you can do that will have the greatest impact on you vision. The guiding principle for your catalyst is that you know this one item would do the most to get you to your goal. For example, let’s say you are trying to lose 50 pounds. A catalyst might be to go running, or give up sugar. Choose that one thing that’s most important for you to do.
Achievements: These are the actions you classify as highly important. They might not have the transformational effect of your one catalyst, but they are the achievements that matter on a day to day basis. It’s your daily actions, priorities, projects and deadlines.
Tasks: This category is for the actions you like to take, but can’t justify as truly critical, at least not in terms of your priorities and goals. Tasks are typically big time consumers. These are the long meetings that need to be scheduled, like networking events. Maybe they are things you like to do, but maybe only after the more valuable things are done.
Avoidances: These are the actions that have actually very little return. Surfing through our emails and unuseful conversations are avoidances that actually take up the time we need for more important priorities in our lives.
By creating a catalyst, you have organized now your to-do list in an efficient way, in an organized order of value for your time and your true priorities.
To learn more about how to master the skills of efficiency and save yourself time with strategies like The Catalyst, read Joelle’s book, The Inner Edge.