Do you have an unwieldy, never-ending to-do list?
My clients are often frustrated when things on their to-do lists aren’t getting done. They feel that they must be lacking in motivation or self-discipline.
While it is possible that motivation or self-discipline can impact your productivity, more often than not, to-do lists become unwieldy because they contain large end outcomes (e.g., “write a book”) without clear, small immediate next steps (“draft a table of contents”).
Honing your skills in a technique called T-Shirt-Sizing can help you to make your to-do lists less Herculean.
One solution: T-Shirt-Sizing
What do I mean by "T-Shirt-Sizing"?
At Google, we used the term "T-Shirt-Sizing" as a metaphor for the process of estimating how much work each project or task will take. If a project seems like it might take multiple months, that’s a “Large.” If a project seems like it can get done in an afternoon, that’s a “Small”.
T-Shirt-Sizing is a critical skill for making your to-do list...doable.
How do I T-Shirt-Size?
You can leverage T-Shirt-Sizing once you've identified and prioritized the list of projects that you need to work on. This technique enables you to create and size concrete next steps.
I recommend asking yourself three questions to T-Shirt-Size while you’re making your daily to-do list:
How will T-Shirt-Sizing help me?
T-Shirt-Sizing will ensure that the tasks on your to-do list are small enough that they are possible to accomplish.
This technique will break a behemoth, Large T-shirt project down into a set of Small T-shirt tasks that will make it easier for you to take action. Once you start taking action, you'll create a sense of momentum so that you feel proud of your progress instead of buried beneath a behemoth.
Ideally, your Small tasks will be easily doable in 1 day and will have a clearly measurable result. Here are a few examples:
By practicing making Small tasks and checking how many you’re able to get done, you can revisit and revise your to-do lists until T-Shirt-Sizing serves you.
Know someone who could benefit from coaching around time management? Schedule a time for a free chemistry call with me.
I'm writing this blog to share my perspective on career transitions, time management, and personal growth.