Your To-Do List is Doing You No Favors with Mridu Parikh
Your To-Do List is Doing You No Favors with Mridu Parikh

Your To-Do List is Doing You No Favors with Mridu Parikh

We have all our own strategies for creating productivity in our lives: Pomodoro method, to-do lists (both digital and analog), time blocking, time tracking, you name it. And I’ve tried it all, to some success.

But rather than writing and rewriting your to-do list from day to day and week to week (you know who you are!), what if you had a true system to follow that ensured you got it all done so you could achieve work-life harmony?

That’s exactly what this week’s guest, Mridu Parikh, gives us the framework that we need to make that happen.

Tune in as she shares that framework in detail and how she makes it work in her business. She also shares how we can shorten that to-do list and simplify how we actually get the work done.

If you’ve been struggling with being productive and feel the stress of getting it all done, you need this episode!

Mentioned in This Episode

About Mridu Parikh

Mridu (Mri-thu) is The Stress Squasher. As a productivity coach and founder of Life Is Organized, she has taught thousands of women business owners simple ways to wake up with a plan… take control of their distractions… and drop overwhelm with ease. Results include a 300% increase in billable time, 10 hours a week saved on emails, and multiple pant sizes shed through new routines.

Mridu is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Accomplish It, and the host of the Productivity on Purpose podcast. When she’s not wrangling a list or schedule, you can usually find this former professional organizer turned productivity pro with her two teens and one husband in Nashville enjoying a Malbec.

Transcription

Abby Herman  0:08  

Hey there, and welcome to Episode 153 of The Content Experiment podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever-moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it all right all of the time. You have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content, to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience, and what grows your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you. 

Abby Herman  0:37  

I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so-called gurus think is the right thing. It’s about you and your business, your lifestyle, and, frankly, your values and belief systems, you get to do business in a way that works for you. 

Abby Herman  1:02  

As I am recording, this, I am working through a must-do to-do list, I have a long list of things I need to get done this week. Today is Thursday. And I told my team that this intro and outro is one non-negotiable that I need to get done today. So I’m doing it. The way that I’m tackling my to do list probably is not the most efficient way to do it. Which is why the conversation I’m having today on this episode with Mridu Parikh is so valuable. And in fact, during the conversation, I talk about the three different to-do lists that I have on a regular basis and how inefficient it is. I got a little bit of a hall pass, but I still don’t think it’s very efficient. 

Abby Herman  1:48  

I met Mridu years ago when a mutual friend of ours put together a peer-led mastermind. She was a professional organizer at the time and I loved all of the tips that I gathered from her. now Mridu is a productivity coach. And let me tell you, it is so simple to get all the things done if we just take the time to get clear on what needs to be done and focusing on that, and not on the endless notifications that you’re getting on any given moment. 

Abby Herman  2:19  

Are you struggling with all of the marketing and content to dues that you have on your list? Our team here at The Content Experiment can take them off your hands for you. So here at The Content Experiment, we offer everything from straight out content creation to full content and marketing strategy, and podcast man management, as well as everything in between for busy online service-based businesses. The best part, you only have to really think about your content twice a month, once when you and I meet one to one to talk strategy and content topics. And once when you’re reviewing all of next month’s content that’s written and ready for us to load and schedule. 

Abby Herman  3:02  

It’s that easy, folks. Let’s chat about what you need. Visit thecontentexperiment.com/contact to book a quick chat. 

Abby Herman  3:12  

All right, let me introduce you to Mridu so we can get on with this great conversation. Are you ready to get control of all your demands? Then you need Mridu Parikh on speed dial. Mridu is the Stress Stress squasher. As a productivity coach and founder of Life is Organized, she has taught 1000s of women business owners simple ways to wake up with a plan take control of their distractions and drop overwhelm with ease. results include a 300% increase in billable time 10 hours a week saved on emails and multiple pants sizes shed through new routines. How awesome is that? 

Abby Herman  3:55  

Mridu is the author of the Amazon bestseller Accomplish It and the host of the Productivity On Purpose podcast. When she’s not wrangling a list or schedule you can usually find this former professional organizer turned productivity Pro with her two teens and one husband in Nashville enjoying a mall back. Now here is our conversation. 

Abby Herman  4:18  

Hi Mridu thank you so much for joining me. I am so excited to talk to you today.

Mridu Parikh  4:24  

Abby this lights me up because this reminds me of our masterminding days way back when and so it makes me so happy to see you right now.

Abby Herman  4:31  

Yes, me too. Me too. So I know you already but the listeners do not. Can you share with everyone just really quickly what you do and who you do it for?

Mridu Parikh  4:43  

Absolutely. I am a productivity coach for mompreneurs which means I help multitasking mompreneurs are doing all the things for all the people. I help them conquer all their demands and distractions so they go from feeling overwhelmed to in control of their time and energy. And I do that through one on one coaching group coaching a membership I have speaking and training. So yeah, just any way that I can spread my message and help women just really empower themselves with the tools to take control of their time.

Abby Herman  5:16  

I love that. And it’s so I mean, I think it’s so hard to do as a mom, and you’ve got two kids. I know you’re your oldest, we were just talking about this your oldest as a senior in high school. Your younger son is how old are in high school? Okay, yeah. So yeah, so you’re like, deep in the, like, Mom taxi mode right now, right.

Mridu Parikh  5:39  

In fact, my husband was just saying this morning, like, Oh, my gosh, next year, we won’t be driving, my younger one will have his license. And like, that is gonna be so weird. So yeah, 

Abby Herman  5:47  

I remember when my daughter turned 16, she got her driver’s license the day she turned 16. And the high school that she went to, was actually it was a 40 minute round trip drive in the mornings and an hour in the afternoons. And I was doing the majority of the driving working from home. So I’d have to like, you know, put on shoes. And I wouldn’t didn’t always get dressed to go do that. But it was she turned 16. And we got her a car. And I was like you’re on your own, like, I’m done. I did this for two years, you get to do it for the second two years of high school. And it was like winning the time lottery, which is really fitting that that’s kind of what we’re talking about today is time and productivity and all of the things that we have on our lists. 

Abby Herman  6:30  

So before we dive into the topic, can you share a little bit about how you work with clients like what that looks like for you and how the way you’ve designed your business and the way you work with clients, and how that helps you to live the lifestyle that you want?

Mridu Parikh  6:48  

Yeah, absolutely. So whether it’s I’m doing one on one coaching, whether in my membership group, whether there’s any other way we’re working together, I take my clients through a four part framework. And I feel like this works for any goal. I mean, this could be like organizing your shoe drawer, to marketing your next campaign to meal planning, really any goal weight loss, and we kind of go through these four steps. And they’re like pieces of a puzzle, they kind of integrate together. 

Mridu Parikh  7:17  

So the first one, and I’ll just give you a high level overview of it. But the first one is getting really clear on your goal and your vision. I find like too many of us are just like going through the motions every day, right? It’s like Groundhog’s Day, every day, you wake up, we do all this stuff, we’re exhausted, we go to bed, we do it again. And sometimes you’re like, I don’t even know exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to get through the day. So we get super clear on that. 

Mridu Parikh  7:38  

Then we’re like, okay, let’s take this awesome goal that you have, and figure out a way to really truly make the time and space for it on your calendar. So creating freedom for you, which means probably you’re gonna have to let go of something else or delegate something that you were doing or systemized something or automated or let it go completely, but we’ll figure that out. 

Mridu Parikh  7:59  

Then, B, in order to mainly make that work like you could nail one and to be like, I’m so clear my goals, I have like all this stuff, my calendar, but if you don’t have a system around it, y’all, you know, it’s gonna fall apart, right, and like two days, like nothing sticks. So then we’re going to do some systemising, process sizing, make sure it’s really efficient. 

Mridu Parikh  8:18  

And then finally, we’ll back it all up with some level of boundaries, which is, I think, the most undervalued piece of this, because again, you could get the first three, right, you’d be like, I got my goals, I got a calendar, I got my system. But if you can’t reinforce that boundary of what I’m going to do, what you’re going to do, this is my time, this is my space. And really, you know, the hop hold to that those standards and those boundaries you have that also risks failure. 

Mridu Parikh  8:44  

So that’s how I’ve set it up. And in terms of like, how the actual business works like my time, I really do use that process very much. I think the boundaries are huge. And in order to do that, I do some simple things like I theme my days. So my husband was laughing today cuz he’s like, Oh, my gosh, you’ve been so my right now I’m recording all transparency in the closet, as you know, Abby, because this is where I get the best sound. And I’ve been in our closet for like four hours today, because today is my podcast day. It’s like my podcast batching day. And I’ve had a couple interviews. I’ve done my own podcast. 

Mridu Parikh  9:19  

So like, I do themes. I kind of themed my day, yesterday was my coaching day. So I had four clients in my group coaching yesterday, I have a writing day. So that really helps me be more efficient, be optimizing my time. But more importantly, I think that anything keeps me on focus. Like I think the distractions is the hardest thing right now for entrepreneurs, right? You’re like, I’m just bombarded with so many places I could put my energy and put my attention. So kind of following that structure as much as possible. really helps to keep me focused and on track. Does that help? I can go more and more into it, but.

Abby Herman  9:58  

yes, totally and I can absolutely relate to the distractions. I guess I have a little sidebar question for you, when you have those theme days, so you have used dimensioned to podcast day, a coaching day a writing day. How do you because something’s going to come up for one. 

Abby Herman  9:59  

So if you have a writing day, something’s going to come up in the coaching bucket at some point during the day, I’m assuming, or you know, a one on one client is going to reach out to you. How do you kind of mitigate those distractions that you need to respond to them in a timely manner? You can’t wait an entire week for the next for that next batch day to come around. How do you? How do you deal with those distractions and respond to them in a way that doesn’t get you completely off track from what that current day this theme is? 

Mridu Parikh  10:48  

Yeah, such a good question. So first of all, the theme day is not the whole day, it’s not eight hours, 10 hours, even five hours, typically, of that thing of that theme, it’s a good portion of it. So maybe it’s four hours of my day, maybe it’s three hours, or maybe it’s just the first thing that I will take care of and accomplish that day. So maybe I’m like, I’m just gonna do 90 minutes of that writing, but it’s the first thing I’m going to do. So it’s out of my way, it’s off my brain. I don’t feel the pressure of it later in the week. And now I can go deal with the distractions or the other things, right. 

Mridu Parikh  11:21  

So even on those theme days, I’m blocking time for those other things that come up for client responses, of course, like, I’m a coach, so like I want to respond or new opportunities that come up, or you know, all the things that happen, there’s still time for that. But at the same time, I get so much done, knowing my main focus for the day, or certainly my first focus of the day, is that theme.

Abby Herman  11:45  

Yeah, that helps so much. Because I think that people, people and myself included, I see theme days. And I think, you know, Oh, I can’t do that. Because I have one to one clients who I communicate with, you know, multiple times throughout the week, and I can’t put that person that client in a box, you know, from two to 4pm on Tuesdays, I can’t do that I have to be able to communicate with them throughout the week. So so that helps a lot. 

Abby Herman  12:11  

So you have some fun facts on your website. And one of those fun facts is about you being so unorganized as a teen that you lost hundreds of dollars worth of clothes while you were inside the mall, I assume like in the shopping trip, like you bought hundreds of dollars worth of clothes, and then you lost them. So can you share their sort of version of like, how you got from there, to how you got to here now where you are now, teaching people how to be more organized and more productive with their time.

Mridu Parikh  12:44  

Yeah, I’m gonna say to be totally honest and totally transparent. He didn’t really happen until it was a necessity. Until I had kids of my own and I had a business of my own. That’s when things really started falling apart. I think like, yes, I did have that incident as a teen and I would lose things. But at the end of the day, I can manage, right? I wasn’t like a disaster when I was single, I could manage I could get stuff done. I got it out the door, I could, you know, I had a department and the job and it was all good. 

Mridu Parikh  13:12  

It was once the kids came along. Now you’re like, Okay, I’m supporting my husband in many ways to young babies that were just two years apart. I launched my business around that time, and my youngest was like a year and a half. So you know, when all that happened, that’s when I really was noticed was noticeably like things are falling through the wayside things are I’m dropping balls, I’m then I’m like just feeling crappy, right? I like feeling like, I’m just not doing a good job anywhere. I’m not being a good mom, I’m not being a good business owner, I’m not being a great wife not being a great daughter, all this stuff, right. 

Mridu Parikh  13:49  

And so I was doing this, I’m going through the business, I’m trying to, you know, do the child rearing. And actually, at that point, just to give you a little context, where I was I was actually in a home organizer was a professional home organizer. That’s my background. And I realized I wasn’t even personally hitting the goals in my business that I wanted to. 

Mridu Parikh  14:08  

And so like I said, it was just this, like overwhelming need for myself to learn how to manage my time and my goals better. And so I kind of started pouring myself in for personal development into training and classes and books and reading all about time management of productivity. And that actually then eventually evolved into my business, I realized, this is the most important thing. You don’t even have time to get your home organized if you can’t like get it on the calendar if you can’t prioritize it, right. 

Mridu Parikh  14:36  

And so that’s really what happened was I had to go through it myself, kind of fail, and then realize No, it is and but what it taught me is that it’s teachable. Anybody can learn it, anyone even if you think you’re the most unorganized or unproductive or scattered person, I promise you, you can absolutely 100% learn like how to do it. 

Abby Herman  14:56  

Yeah. So how do we figure out what those priorities These are and and I’m not just talking about business because I think that, yes, business is important. Obviously, we need to make a living, but but we also need to prioritize our health and our well being like, you know, mental, emotional, relational well being and all of that, too. So how do we balance the work, and in business work and the personal work and figure out like what our priorities actually are?

Mridu Parikh  15:25  

You know, I think the beauty of a lot of typically women, but just people in general, but especially women, is that we have something really amazing that we can tap into whether and it will guide us for our business decisions, it guides us for our professional decisions, it gives us a roadmap. And that really is our gut and our intuition, which I think is never really talked about when it comes to productivity and time management. 

Mridu Parikh  15:49  

And here’s what I mean, if I could just completely simplify this and took away all the matrices and the grids and the high priority, low priority and all that kind of stuff. And just left you with this one question every day, I really believe that you could tap into your inner guidance, and it will tell you what it should be. And the question is this. 

Mridu Parikh  16:06  

When I hit my pillow tonight, I had like my head hits the pillow tonight. What would make me feel most successful? Like when make me feel really awesome today. And I usually it’s going to be this combo of if I got my butt to the gym or went for a walk, right? If I maybe like called my mom or had a conversation with my daughter at college right now, right? You’re going through that. And if I completed that strategy work on that thing that I’m constantly procrastinating, you know, or I wrote the copy. You know, this is my writing day, I actually got through like my blog post in my podcast, I wrote that or, you know, like, there’s certain things you know that you’re like, this would make me feel so good, both professionally and personally. 

Mridu Parikh  16:54  

Because this is actually in alignment with my priorities. And you know exactly what they are. You’re listening to this right now you know exactly what they are. It doesn’t mean that’s what we’re doing. But you know what they are? So answer that question. Start there. Because let’s make this simple, all this, like get into all the like, all like I said, Those grids and all let’s make it really simple and start there.

Abby Herman  17:13  

I feel like what the examples that you just gave are the personal examples are things that you you did during the day, personally, like going to the gym and eating right. And all of that are things that we did. And then the things that you mentioned for that were business related are sounded to me a lot like setting yourself up for the next day. 

Abby Herman  17:36  

Like you’ve got this thing done. Because you need it tomorrow. You need it for tomorrow needs to be ready like for except, for example, we’re recording this on a Thursday afternoon. I have an email that comes out tomorrow. have I written it? No, it happens. Even though I talk about batching content and getting things done ahead of time, I have not done it yet. However, I know I need to get it done today. 

Abby Herman  17:59  

Otherwise, tomorrow morning, I’m gonna wake up and I’m going to be mad at myself for not getting it done. Because that’s what I’m gonna have to start with. And I’m already starting the day behind if it’s not ready.

Mridu Parikh  18:10  

Like you kind of know you’re like, if I went to bed tonight, I was about you know, about to go to sleep. And I was like, Oh, I’m so happy. I got that done. Right. Yeah.

Abby Herman  18:18  

Versus laying in bed thinking, Oh, crap. That’s the first thing I have to do tomorrow. I can’t forget, I can’t forget.

Mridu Parikh  18:24  

Another key indicator. Another simple signal is, what is it that I’m totally procrastinating right now? Like, what do I continue to put off because that also is typically like the alert, that’s the signal of that really is the most important thing. That’s the thing that would make me feel so good. 

Mridu Parikh  18:40  

So again, it might be exercise, but it might be like more of a planning or strategy or system, you’re like, I’ve been wanting to put this in place for four months or four years or four days, whatever, but, and I keep putting it off. If I could knock that out of the park today, I want to feel like a million bucks when I go to bed. So that can also be a really great indicator of what what those things are.

Abby Herman  19:01  

Yes, yes, I totally agree. Okay, so I want to talk about to do lists. So we’re so busy, right? Like, I have never ending lists of things that I need to accomplish. And I feel like and i and i know that there’s a matrix that goes along with this, like where you don’t have like the urgent things you should not be doing urgent things you should be doing the important things. 

Abby Herman  19:25  

But the reality is that a lot of us are still doing the urgent things on a regular basis. And we also have like there’s also these all these, quote unquote, solutions, right. So we have clickup. And we have Trello and Asana, that are supposed to be like helping us with our to do list and our tasks and our management of projects. I have paper to do lists. So usually most weeks I sit down and I hand write a list of the things that I need to get done. I ignore what’s in clickup and I just take the things out of my head and I write those down and then big Cuz this is incredibly inefficient, and you’re going to die when I tell you this. 

Abby Herman  20:04  

So the third, so we have. So on my team, we have clickup, I have my handwritten list. And every Monday, I have my operations manager, write me a list in Google Docs, and send me a list of the things that she needs from me that week, because I can’t be bothered to look at clickup which my whole team is using. I also have my paperless, I have three to essentially three to do lists that I you know, I go through every week, I go through the list that Maddie gives me and I, I will add things to it. And I cross things off, and I kind of use that as my guide, but so inefficient to have all of this. 

Abby Herman  20:39  

What is the solution to this? How do we I know you’d like you work with people on to do lists, helped me help listeners determine like, how do we create these to do lists so that they actually get done and maybe so that we only have one instead of three?

Mridu Parikh  20:55  

Okay, first of all, good news. I actually don’t think that’s, that’s awful at all, like I did, okay, good. Yeah, no, the never ending to do list. It’s overwhelming. It’s exhausting, right, it’s hard to figure out a process to keep the details from falling through the cracks. So one thing I’ll say is, I think reinforcements are amazing. So if you’re reinforcing, you’re like, I have it on the clickup. But then I’m doing my paperless. And then I’m have someone else kind of reinforcing that. Like, here’s everything, again, with the amount of distractions that we have, like, it’s just going to help you focus better. 

Mridu Parikh  21:24  

So I don’t really think it’s, it’s terrible at all, really, okay, good. reinforcement, because if not, your, you aren’t going to go all astray. And actually, I love the idea of having so click up is what I would call the master list. That’s like the one place with everything right? This is your team or maybe everything for you. But it’s like it’s kind of like the the the the master of all all the to do’s and then you handwrite your daily to dues. I actually think that’s a great system. And I’ll tell you, I will actually Wait, let me back up. Let me let me touch on those a little bit. And I’ll tell you why. I actually think that’s a really good thing. 

Mridu Parikh  21:58  

So a couple things before we even get into the list is that your I think what you’re doing is exactly right. So first of all, if you’re the type of person, not like Abby, but you’re like I have everything on five different notebooks, and I’m back of envelopes and on sticky notes. And I know someone listening is like shaking their head right now. You do want to get it all in one place. Okay? So whatever that is, no, gosh, don’t overthink This is like this first step cannot slow us down, right? We’re like, we want to get in one place. 

Mridu Parikh  22:24  

Because then when you need to retrieve the information or remember the list, you’re not wasting your time. Now that’s inefficient if you have to go through five different notebooks and all the different pads and all your journals right to find it. So I definitely do recommend a digital source. So Abby, I think you’re right on track, like a click up. I’ve been loving notion lately. Evernote is by far my favorite. It’s also very similar to OneNote. I truly don’t think there’s a right or wrong, there just isn’t. It’s just what your comfort level is. If you’re familiar with one, just jump on it and move the heck on already, right? Look, let’s not let this stop us. So get everything in one place. 

Mridu Parikh  22:58  

And then the second thing I’ll say about that, before we jump into the actual list is identify what really belongs on your to do list. Okay, your to do list should be all actions. Like if it’s actions, if you’re a bloating, your to do list with items that don’t belong on there. Like, here’s the books I want to read one day, or here’s marketing ideas I have, or here’s the camp details for next summer for my kids. Like now it’s a catch all list. And it’s not going to help you prioritize and get clarity, it’s just going to get more overwhelming, because now you’re already really, really, really long to do list of actions is now become really, really, really, really, really long, right? Because you’ve added everything else in there. 

Mridu Parikh  23:41  

So just kind of like keep that in mind as you’re creating this master place. And maybe you have to master places, you’re like, what is my action list? Right? And then maybe someone else is where I have all the other ideas, which is why I love like an Evernote because, or an Asana or clickup because you can capture them all somewhere else. So Does that kind of make sense? Just like right there. 

Abby Herman  24:01  

Absolutely. Yes, yes.

Mridu Parikh  24:03  

Okay, perfect. Okay, and then when you’re actually creating that to do list, so let’s say we’re on that master list. Now, I would say one of the big mistakes that we typically make is that we look at things on a project level, and not on a task level. So a task is a single action project has multiple actions. So that’s how you tell them apart. If you write something down on your list, and you’re like it has more than one action, it is now our project. 

Mridu Parikh  24:31  

So for example, let’s say you’re like, Okay, I’m going to write my blog copy today, I’m going to write my golf or write blog. That’s that would be a blast, right? That’s very typical. Then our list. Is there more than one step to do that? Typically, yeah, right. You’re like, or maybe it’s create blog or something, right? You’re probably like, I have to write my first draft. I’m gonna write my second draft. I’m going to upload it on WordPress. I’m going to create that image or ask my assistant to create the image. We’re going to get it, you know, we’re going to publish it like there are multiple steps if you do some research for whatever. 

Mridu Parikh  25:03  

So now you’re like, instead of just saying create blog, that’s when it becomes a project. And you have multiple steps, kind of below that if you’re picturing a list or like, here’s my header, you know, create the blog, and then they’ll and then the steps right below it, it would maybe checkboxes, which is also I like something like Evernote or an Asana or click that, but you can actually check them off. So why is this really great? Because when you have small, specific tasks, it is less overwhelming, right, you are more likely to take action, you’re less likely to procrastinate because you’re just focusing on one action and not the entire task. 

Mridu Parikh  25:39  

So let’s say the creating your blog typically takes from start to end, right? You’re writing it to publishing it, let’s say it takes you three hours. Okay? When do you really get a three-hour chunk of time on your calendar? Like never? Like No, no, it gets really overwhelming. But if you’re like, Oh, my first step is just to like create the outline or like, you know, just like write the concept for this week, like, okay, it’s like 15 minutes for me, I can do that. Right. And now you’re like, I can find 15 minutes in my day. That’s not a big deal, I can do that. And so it’s like, you start like, just taking action much, much faster.

Abby Herman  26:17  

I love that, yes, because I definitely tend to look at things on the project level, and then get overwhelmed. I think, God, you know, and I actually do block off, you know, I have a couple of afternoons a week, right, do block off a really good chunk of time, you know, 234 hours that I block off, and I put CEO time on my calendar. So that’s my time. But basically, that’s my catch up time of, you know, like, nobody can schedule an appointment, because I need this chunk of time to catch up on things. 

Abby Herman  26:47  

But even at that the idea of sitting down and creating an entire solo podcast episode, for example, is overwhelming, because of you know, because I need to outline it that I need to I script my my solo episodes, I write the show notes, I write the social media captions, I figure out what other social media we’re going to post that week. And that’s a lot of time. And my attention span is not that long. And even if I get up and take a walk in between our you know, eat lunch in between, it’s still really hard to think of that entire project, you know, at once. So I love the idea of breaking things down into smaller tasks. 

Abby Herman  27:29  

Can you talk a little bit about like, I feel like, sometimes we have. So for breaking things up into smaller tasks, I feel like, sometimes we have the intention of trying to make it easier, but we really make it more cumbersome by maybe adding too many tasks. So how do you how small is too small of a task? Are there things that maybe we don’t need to write down? Because they’re a given? Like, can you can you go into it into that at all? Does that make sense?

Mridu Parikh  27:59  

Yes, it does. And it’s I never get asked that it’s so great. Because I think I think the answer is really counterintuitive. Like I think we believe I don’t need to write that down. I know, I know, once I write it, I have to send the email, duh, right? I know, I have to print that out or put it in the mail. Like, no, you don’t have to write that down. And I would say, write down everything. And I mean, write down everything down to Yes, I’m going to email that out or I’m going to upload this or we’ll just it’s especially the thing is you it is rote. 

Mridu Parikh  28:30  

You’ve done them a million times, you’re like, why would I spend the time to write this out? Because it will help you in planning, which is something we’ll talk about next, like the next step. So the next step is to really estimate your time for each of the broken-down tasks. Okay. 

Mridu Parikh  28:46  

So for example, again, if you’re like, I’m going to write the blog, or create the blog is three hours, okay? That’s pretty overwhelming. Where do I find the time this is when your eyes gloss over it, you know, you put on your calendar, you see it and the gloss is over, and you move it to the next day and glosses over. But now if you have on your list, again, the same ones I use, I create the outline, write the first draft, write the second draft, edit it. 

Mridu Parikh  29:06  

Now you’re like, Okay, it’s gonna take me 10 minutes, the outline, first draft is 30 minutes. second draft is 15 minutes, uploaded 20 minutes, right. And now you can really, really break it down. And so again, you’re like, I’m just gonna plan to do the first three steps because I only got me like 40 minutes right now, you know, or, and then it feels so great, because we love and it’s like a dopamine hit when we can check things off the list. If you had to wait around to check off, create blog posts off the list, you could be waiting for days. 

Mridu Parikh  29:35  

But if you have broken it down and you have 10 steps, you’re like, ah, got that done. got that done. Go check, check, check, check, check. So you’re actually like fulfilling this need. It was like instant gratification need. And it’s also keeping you motivated to take the next step because you’re continuously making progress. If we’re always at the project level, it takes a really long time to check things off the list, right and it takes a really long time to Find the time to do it. I mean, how many of you, if someone listening like how many times you do something, and then you go back and put it on your left, right? It’s just because you want to see that you’ve checked off.

Abby Herman  30:07  

Totally do that! Totally do that. Yes. Yeah. Well, and also too, I like so I, we use I mentioned already, we use click up. And we have it set up now so that, because pretty much every project, multiple people touch every project that we work on. And so we can see when somebody checks something off, and it shows us to the percentage of completion that we’re at. 

Abby Herman  30:33  

So when five things are checked off out of, you know, the 10, things that we’re 50% done with that project. And so we can kind of see the little bar move over as as pieces of it are done. And sometimes, you know, like, somebody will go in, we’ll be at 50%. And then 10 minutes later, we’ll be at 100%. Because the next five tasks are really short and easy to do. So it’s fun to see that. 

Abby Herman  30:55  

And because we have multiple people working on the project, we know where everybody is, if I kept all that information to myself, or have somebody else on the team kept all the informations to themselves. The other people on the team would be wondering, well, where you know, system yet? How do you know how much more time? When does it come to me? You know, all of that. So,

Mridu Parikh  31:15  

absolutely. I love that and is so great for project management, right? Because everybody’s got to keep abreast of what everyone else is doing. So that you know, you can keep it moving. Yeah, also wanted to say that, by keeping by adding in your times, you are more accurately planning your day. 

Mridu Parikh  31:33  

So we tend to grossly overestimate what we can get done all the time, right? We just, and I think we’re we think we’re doing the right thing. We’re like, I looked at my list, I took my 10 things, or maybe I wrote another sheet of paper like you’re doing, which I think is great, but it keeps you more focus, you write down your 10. And your brain is telling you and you’re so experienced, you’ve been in business for years, or you know, you’ve been the mom thing for years, or you’ve been doing this forever. 

Mridu Parikh  31:59  

And you’re like, I can look at that list and say I’m going to get this all done today. Like there’s something that’s telling you that, and yet, you have 10 things in the list, you get six done, right, you’ve grossly overestimate what you can get done. And at the end of the day, instead of celebrating the six, you’re beating yourself up for the four you didn’t get done. 

Abby Herman  32:17  

Yeah. 

Mridu Parikh  32:18  

And it’s so frustrating because we’re working so hard or putting in so much effort. And that’s what you end your day is like just like annoyed and irritated and frustrated. And of course, this also impacts your competence, your self esteem, being able to get things done. So if you actually had timeframes next to those 10. Now imagine it said 30 minutes, 90 minutes, 40 minutes, and now you’re like, Oh, I see where I went wrong. Because when I add that up, it’s so funny, I’ll do this for clients, and we literally will add up. Okay, so what you’re gonna get done today, and that’s added up. And it’s like, you know, 14 hours a day, or it’s even like six hours. 

Mridu Parikh  32:52  

But meanwhile, they have three hours of you know, podcast interviews, and they’re doing a meeting across town, like, there’s not that time in the day, right? There’s no time. And so when you actually add it up, you’re like, Oh, I see, I was totally fooling myself. I don’t know why. Because I’ve thought of all this experience, somehow we’d like there’s this big gap. And now I can see I really just should be doing six of these because that’s what I have time for. Then you have six on the list, you finished five or six, by the end of the day, you feel like a rock star right now you’re feeling motivated. Now you’re feeling inspired for the next day, you’re like, Oh, I actually achieved what I set out to do. 

Mridu Parikh  33:26  

So it’s so much more than just like the last which is great and so much more than even though instant gratification, which is great. But it truly like impacts the way you show up every day. Like how good you feel about yourself, how rewarded you feel. Beyond it just it’s just like a total mindset attitude kind of shift. 

Abby Herman  33:43  

Yes. Okay, so we have everything all in one place. We have our master list, right? We have broken down those projects. And in the projects into smaller tasks, we have estimated time for each task. What’s next?

Mridu Parikh  33:56  

And then I’d say the lat long kind of last two steps here, but is add due dates, due date. So we all work better with deadlines. Like if we had no deadlines in life, nothing would get done. Okay. So, again, you want to accurately plan your day or week and in your head. It all seems to make sense. Like I can totally get this done this week until you actually see the deadline. Oh, really, because that’s due on Tuesday. 

Mridu Parikh  34:20  

And like you said, you have to have your podcast or blog stuff done by tomorrow morning. And when you actually just start seeing it’s as simple as just writing you know, 9/12 or whatever it is a due date. You’re like, oh, okay, now it helps me plan my day and my week. And if there’s something that doesn’t have a deadline, because a lot of things don’t right, you’re like on a read this article, I want to organize my closet. Give yourself one night and what the due date on the list. It doesn’t guarantee you’re going to do it. 

Mridu Parikh  34:49  

But if it doesn’t even have that it’s just always gonna sit at the bottom of the list. Like you’re like never even going to try to push it up because you’re like, there’s no urgency. There’s nothing I see here. Amongst All the things that are really, quote unquote, you know, do that need to get done and do have deadlines that has no urgency. So don’t put something on there. If you don’t have a deadline, then other than just take it off. Maybe it’s not an action for now. And you put on that other list of things to do in the future. But don’t muddle that. And the best way to model that is to put the deadline.

Abby Herman  35:17  

I love that I actually right before this call, I actually put a couple of things on my Google calendar on for Saturday, things that I have been telling myself I’m gonna do and I’ve been wanting to do, and I just haven’t done it. So it’s now on my calendar. Saturday afternoon, I’m doing it. That’s my deadline.

Mridu Parikh  35:37  

Chances are, you’ll get it done, or you’ll most you’re more likely to anyway, right? And why can’t we always just put ourselves in the best position for success?

Abby Herman  35:45  

Mm hmm. Yeah, exactly. Awesome. So I love this. I love the idea of deadlines. And you know, to make sure that the things actually get done, even if they’re not things that are work related, or things that are like have tattoos. So what happens as a result of like, having this amazing to do list and being able to work through all of the things, what is the what is the end result of this?

Mridu Parikh  36:14  

the end result is clarity. If I can’t tell you anything else from like doing this process, it’s total clarity. So when you actually break down things in tasks, right, and you have deadlines around and you’re putting these estimates, it’s like, oh, like all of a sudden, you’re like, Oh my gosh, I don’t need to be doing that entire project. There’s 10 pieces this project, oh, well, there’s four of them that my assistant can do. Or this seems really duplicative. Now that I’ve written out this whole process that’s called her the steps. I feel like we can streamline this a little bit, or you’re like, oh, I’ve kind of written the same thing over and over for different projects. Maybe there’s a way we can make this more systemized or maybe I can outsource it.

Mridu Parikh  36:58  

 It just gives you so much clarity on all this burden that you’ve been putting on yourselves of how you can make it more efficient outsources, systemize it even just stuff with like my kids, like, for some reason I do. By the way, I know I’ve been giving examples that are probably more work related. We do the same thing on the on the personal side, I just do I do a masterless business I do masterless personal do the same thing. So if I’m like I you know if the project now is we’re gonna go on a trip or fall break. 

Mridu Parikh  37:25  

So usually in the past I’d write like, get ready for fall trip or plan fall trip. And now it’d be like okay, fall trip called make sure we are the hotel like research these you know, the sights look at the restaurants. When I see that broken down now I’m like, Oh my God, my sons who are teenagers can take responsibility as some of this I can delegate look, you guys bunch you each pick out a set you want to see or Krishna and can you get on look, can you get on and like order, you know, you need some hiking boots, go order them, and, you know, and stuff like that, but I would like you just can’t see it when it’s in your head. 

Mridu Parikh  37:55  

So, clarity that you’re going to get, which of course then will help you prioritize, it’s gonna help you systemize gonna help you delegate that is the biggest gift. And that’s how extremely powerful why I’m so passionate about the to do list because how powerful that can be? 

Abby Herman  38:10  

Yes, well, and I can see to where it would save an incredible amount of time and allow you and you just talking about delegating to your son’s boom, I have not taken my daughter’s 19 I have not taken her shopping, you know, like on a school clothes shopping trip since she was maybe 13. Because I outsource that to her. Like, she’s a pain to shop with. I don’t like to shop with her. She doesn’t like to shop with me. And so she can just do it herself. So she I would give her money and she would go with a friend and do it herself. I just bought bought myself hours and hours and hours of time. 

Abby Herman  38:45  

So when you do stuff like that, you you give yourself more time you you buy your own time back and then and then. And then what do you do with that? Like, what are some of the things that you talk to clients about with like, now you have all this extra time that you can do what with?

Mridu Parikh  39:04  

Gosh? Are those things that we say we never have time for? Right? Or they Oh, we all know the things that are really good for us that we don’t get to like self care, like extra? Like how about just not thinking about anything that’s like work related or even house related? That’s what those best ideas come to you right? 

Mridu Parikh  39:24  

Like it’s like when you’re in the shower, we know that we can when we can disconnect that’s when we can have the biggest breakthroughs in the biggest aha How about that time for yourself? How about binge watching Netflix and like not feeling guilty about it? Oh, there How about that for a change? Right? How about getting back to a hobby you haven’t had a chance to to think about Or how about working on your business but it’s like strategy level where do I want to take this? Where do I want to be next quarter what or how do I want to you know, think more about my planning or what I’m offering and what’s the best, you know, best thing for my clients like it’s really that that high level stuff because we are always so caught in that minutia and That, it’s like, we don’t have that space, that mental bandwidth to always do that. 

Mridu Parikh  40:06  

So I would say take that time and do the things that you say you don’t have time for or that are harder to fit in. And then do it in a more pleasurable, joyful, like rewarding way. Cuz you’re now you’re not feeling like compressed to do it or like it’s on the calendar to even do you can just enjoy it and like reap the rewards.

Abby Herman  40:25  

I love that. Yes, absolutely. 

Abby Herman  40:29  

So as we wrap up here, I would love to know from you, based on our conversation, what are if listeners were only to take away two things that we talked about, and they only have time to, you know, they only have time right now until they grab your, your to do list freebie, and they save themselves a bunch of time. But if they were only able to take action on two things, what do you hope that they would take action on?

Mridu Parikh  40:56  

I would say, ask yourself the question know, when my head hits the pillow tonight, what will make me feel most successful? 

Abby Herman  41:05  

Mm hmm. 

Mridu Parikh  41:05  

And focus on those. And typically I’ll say like, do your top make it three, like three things top three, like get those three things on your calendar for tomorrow, like focus on those top three things that when my head hits the pillow, I feel successful. 

Mridu Parikh  41:17  

And then too I’ll say, commit, just make a commitment right now to the one place where you’re going to make your list because this is what I find from the hundreds of women that work with that. But there it’s that’s not happening, right? They’re trying 100 different tools, they have all the journals, they have all the planners out like and everything’s all over. Just commit to one. Don’t overthink it, don’t procrastinate it, just pick one. Again, Evernote, I think is super easy. So if you’re looking for like, just tell me what to do. Okay, that’s the one I’m going to do Evernote, and just pick that and then the rest, you know, will come

Abby Herman  41:49  

Fantastic I so appreciate you being here and sharing all of these amazing tips on to do lists and productivity. Can you share with listeners where they can find you online and where they can find your perfect to do list downloadable also?

Mridu Parikh  42:06  

Yeah, I’d say the best place to come and get to know each other is at lifeisorganized.com. And that freebie. By the way, if you if you’re like I want to take notes or just talking too fast, or I’m driving, I have all of that everything we just went through about the to do list all in a guide and a resource like how to create the perfect to do list. 

Mridu Parikh  42:23  

So that’s at lifeisorganized.com/Abby A B B Y. 

Abby Herman  42:28  

Right. 

Mridu Parikh  42:29  

And you can find that there along with some other resources like how to stop feeling overwhelmed and how to stop procrastinating and how to get focused. But you know, definitely that to do list one is there. So again, lifeisorganized.com/Abby, and come check out my podcast to its productivity on purpose.

Abby Herman  42:45  

Fantastic. Mridu. Thank you so much. I so appreciate it.

Mridu Parikh  42:49  

I love being here. And thank you so much for sharing me with your audience, I hope that you found it valuable.

Abby Herman  42:56  

My biggest takeaways from this conversation is probably the big question to ask yourself. When my head hits the pillow this evening, what would make me feel really good. I’ve also taken to asking myself, what can I do right now, or today or this afternoon to set myself up for success tomorrow, there are things that I can do for my business, like making sure that email is written or having a list of must do tasks ready for tomorrow or knowing what’s first on my list for the next day. 

Abby Herman  43:30  

And personally, which includes setting up my workout clothes for the next day, making sure that I have lunch packed. So if I go into the office, I have food and just making sure that I am meal prepped in general. And all of those things can make sure that tomorrow is a really good day. And I can feel it when I don’t do those things that feels hard and stressed and like I just don’t have any empty space in my life. 

Abby Herman  44:00  

So I would encourage you to ask yourself, ask yourself those questions. When my head hits the pillow this evening. What would make me feel really good? And also ask yourself what can I do right now to set myself up for success tomorrow. 

Abby Herman  44:16  

If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. You can tag me @thecontentexperiment and tag Mridu @LifeisOrganized. The more you share the more we can get the podcast into the hands and earbuds of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. 

Abby Herman  44:42  

Until next time. Take care

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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