Your “Never Ending” To Do List


“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they are great and noble.”   Helen Keller

I love this quote and I love who it came from.  One of my FAVORITE things to do is cross things off my to do list.  And I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who sometimes can get completely STOPPED because of the feeling of overwhelm.

In my last post I talked about the Time Trap and the desire of most actors to get what they want, like yesterday!  But if you’re anything like me, things are added daily to my never ending list that can often make my goals and dreams seem very far off indeed.  It’s an illusion of course and I’ve since gained a new perspective.

My perspective shifted greatly once I noticed a recurring theme with many of my coaching clients, that though progress is being made, it’s often overwhelming taking on new things and deciding what to do with what seems an expanding “to do” list.  Where to start, what to leave out, what’s a priority…how to fit it all in?

So I’ve got a really cool strategy for you that will make a HUGE difference, especially if you are one of the folks that have not been able to keep up with the “building” over time of performing multiple tasks.  This strategy will bring you focus and clarity on what to do, and more importantly what not to do.

Make a “to do” list.  EVERYTHING you have to do both personal and professional.  Things like: Make an appointment for the dentist; clean the bathroom; call 3 photographers, make appointments, choose one; wash the dog/car/clothes; write 5 postcards, travel to Australia, buy a Birthday card for Tom.  Call Joan about dinner on Tuesday.  Go on Actors Access and submit for some great auditions.  Pay bills.  Sign up for The Gold Standard (ha!, had to slip that one in!)

Everything goes on the list.  This will probably take at least 15 to 30 minutes or longer.  Then when you’ve emptied your brain of all that you have to do, more things will come up if you stay in silence and let them come.  Then write those things down too!

Next, divide this one huge list into 3 smaller lists:  The things you are never doing (at least right now), the things you are not doing (at least right now…this time frame being not within the next 4 to 6 weeks) and the things you are doing now.

The never doing now list contains items that if they never, ever got done, will not affect your life and goals in an adverse way…yet you may someday still want to do them.  For example, travel to Australia or re-paint the bathroom.

The not doing now list contains things that are definitely needed and wanted to accomplish, but again, won’t adversely affect you life or goals if they don’t happen outside of 4-6 weeks from now.

That leaves the “to do” list…things that if not attended to within the next month to 6 weeks, will adversely affect your life and goals.  These items should then be scheduled…actually pick a time and date and put them into your calendar.

So the things you’re doing now get put into your schedule, to be moved around if need be due to auditions, other opportunities, etc. but then get rescheduled, got it?

Once they are in your calendar/schedule you will have a clearer picture of accomplishing the things that are directly related to what you say you want.  For some this will be a huge accomplishment and breakthrough, for others, a review.  Either way, do it please!

“What you resist persists” – Anonymous

By the way, if you don’t use a calendar or schedule of some kind to keep track…GET ONE.  Honestly, you’re life will become much more manageable when you keep track of your appointments (especially the ones you make with yourself!)  Get started today.  It’s not too late, in fact, we have an opportunity to start newly every day

Enjoy marking those things off the list!  Ahhhhh, feels GOOD!

As usual, I’d love your comments or perhaps you have some tips about time you could share with the community.  Write them below now…don’t put this “to do” on your list!

7 replies
  1. Keyna Reynolds
    Keyna Reynolds says:

    Hey Lisa! Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday weekend and thanks so much for taking the time to share the tip! I love this idea and can’t wait to implement it…TONIGHT (while it’s fresh)! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by to-do lists, I love the idea of having everything in one place and a way to prioritize as well! I’m a huge fan of finding new ways to organize, reorganize…then simplify! Thanks Again! 🙂

    • Lisa Gold
      Lisa Gold says:

      Hi Kenya, thanks for the message that shows just how gung ho you are! My holiday was spent at a silent retreat where I created so many more inspiring things for actors I’m about to burst. Slowing down to then ramp up is fun. Hope the process of ending your forever to do list has done the same for you.

      • Keyna Reynolds
        Keyna Reynolds says:

        Hey Lisa! My pleasure! That sounds really interesting, I can’t wait to hear more about what you have cooking! 🙂 Yes, feeling in control and organized while ending the year is both rewarding and a great way to tie up loose ends. I’ll stay tuned for your next moves! Cheers! Keyna~

  2. Freddie Ganno
    Freddie Ganno says:

    Great idea Lisa! As always, you’ve put it out there and it’s a daily practice that we all should keep doing.
    Thanks so much
    I use my phone for to do’s and many times an appointment book

    • Lisa Gold
      Lisa Gold says:

      Hi Freddie, yes out phones have become mini-computers and are a great time saver because of the ease of use. For those not yet in the HABIT of using their phones for this convenience, well they should check out my blog post I just wrote on creating habits!

  3. Bill Rapp
    Bill Rapp says:

    Hi Lisa,
    The absolutely best book on Time Management was written by Monroe Mann. You may know him. I met him at an AFTRA Meeting before the merger when he was the guest speaker. His book is titled “TIME ZEN”. I suggest you get & read it & then you’ll be able to recommend it.
    Bill Rapp

    • Lisa Gold
      Lisa Gold says:

      Hi Bill, yes of course I know Monroe. There’s a secret club where we all know each other…LOL. We have differing point of views on several subjects, but on this one we align.
      Anything that is a way to keep an actor organized, on purpose, inspired and out of overwhelm is something I also recommend. Thanks for passing it on.


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