© 2008 Linda Feinholz

I’m a voracious reader. There have been some years when I read nearly 400 books… and worked full time and slept fewer than 4 hours a night. I love reading.

That was then… And now my body wants more sleep, and my reading has dropped off. So I use my reading time even more focused. 20 percent for pleasure and 80 percent for the joy of new ideas that I can take to my clients.

I don’t usually take the entire book or article for them to read. I extract the core idea, perhaps even a quote, and take it into a discussion to illustrate a new way of thinking about their challenge.

I have favorites that I give to management teams whose companies are facing growth challenges, leadership practices, and marketing. Those include the

  • Harvard Business Review article by Larry Greiner “Evolution & Revolution as organizations grow” (I prefer the original version, not the updated one),
  • Fast Company’s piece called “Measure What Matters”
  • Inc Magazine’s “Cold Fish, Hot Data, New Profis”
  • Fast Company’s “Start With Nothing”
  • And Fortune Magazine’s “Making The Lord’s Copies”

If you get yourself a copy of these, you’ll find the following core ideas: Continue Reading


© 2008 Linda Feinholz.

You’ve got dreams and you’ve got your attention on what it takes to achieve them. You’re ready to roll up your sleeves and eager to start producing massive results.

The problem is, you’re dragging. You put in tons of hours, your desk is piled with papers, and no matter how hard you work, you’re plagued by a To-Do list a mile long and growing. You’re constantly busy yet you get to the end of each week before you get to the end of your list.

Important things fall through the cracks. In fact you’re feeling frustrated, drained and overwhelmed. And you’re doubting what you’ve actually accomplished.

I started coaching this month with two new business leaders and that’s exactly what they were facing, every day. They were wondering how they’ll ever achieve their big goals when they can’t seem to dig themselves out from under their avalanche of tasks and ‘have to get done’s’.

So I gave them a To Do list Makeover. We turned that time and energy sucking list of “To Do’s” into “Ta Da’s!” they can smile about. And you can use it too!

So what’s a Ta Da! List?

Have you ever noticed that your To Do List is a never-ending list of everything you think you should be doing?

We’re all so adept at creating lists of things that need doing. But not all items are created equal—some are simple items to get done, others take major effort. As a result your To Do list is full of busy work all mixed in with the important stuff and even the urgent and critical things your success depends on.

A Ta-Da! list is results focused. It’s a list of High Payoff tasks, that when completed have immediate impact on your results and success. Completing items on your Ta-Da! List results that in energy focuses you and each next effort on accomplishments.

A Ta Da! List is a declaration of what you are committed to getting done. And that means getting it done in the most effective way possible.

Here is a 5 step plan to tame that To Do list:

Step #1: Declare Your Top 3 Priorities.

Your Ta-Da! List needs a clear focus. Every day, start a fresh list with your 3 most important projects or priorities. Don’t let your High Payoff Activities get buried – keep everything else off this list. Clearly focus on the 3 priorities that must get done, no matter what else happens. Let this focus your actions.

Step #2: Dump The Lowest Priority Items.

If everything is equally important then nothing really is. Take a fresh, honest look at your To Do list. Now filter your list for the things that you dream of getting done ‘someday’ and write them down on a separate piece of paper – out of your sight, permanently. Ask yourself “What items on my list fall in the ‘great idea’ category but have very little payoff if I do them? What items have absolutely no consequence if I DON’T do them?” If you’re finding “shoulds” that you keep stalling on because they aren’t aligned with your top priorities, cross them off and be done with them.

Step #3: Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.

Identify anything and everything that must get done, yet could be done by someone else. That means handing it to someone and overseeing their accomplishing it so you stop being the ‘only one’ who could get it done. I teach my clients to use the “If I Ran off to Fiji Test”. If you decided to catch a plane tomorrow, and it still needed to get done, who ought to have it on their list? If you’re concerned it won’t get done to your standards, set-up a formal hand off with a ‘check in’ dates and times to review progress and provide input. But commit to letting someone else handle it all the way to completion.

Step #4: Pencil Out The Week.

Take another look through your list. If there’s anything on your list that doesn’t have to be completed today, but does need to be completed within the next 7 days, pencil it onto the appropriate days. Just knowing you’ve created a time and space for them will free you up to focus on other, more important, priorities right here and right now.

Step #5: Time Block The Rest.

All that should be left on your list are those items that (a) must be done today, (b) are linked to a top priority item and (c) must be done by you and only you. You may want to break them into 45-minute blocks of time, alternating with 15-minute breaks, so you know you’ll accomplish them and also give attention to quick fix items that crop up. Write those blocks of time in your calendar.

And anything else that crops up during your day? Take them through steps 1 through five and get your attention back on your declared focus for the day!

That’s it. 5 simple steps to create your Ta-Da! List. Watch how much more focused and productive you are.


Have you noticed how much time you spend staring at (or avoiding) your To Do list?

You can join Mark and the others in getting you time ‘spent’ on what matters. Instead of wrestling with time, take a step back and shift your perspective.

Start by changing your To Do’s and you’ll revolutionize your relationship with Time and blast by the folks who are still staring at their calendars in despair.

Ask yourself

“Which of these To Do’s actually move me toward my Vision?”

Now prioritize the top 5 remaining To Do’s and put them on you calendar today! Everything else needs to be Delegated or Dumped. Call me if get stuck deciding which of those three lists to put things on!


Change 1 “To Do” And You Can Change It All!

by Linda Feinholz October 1, 2007

What are you spending your time on these days? I really want to know.Take a blank piece of paper and track everything you put your attention for the next 2 hours. List everything you spend time working on, everything you’re thinking about, wishing you weren’t thinking about, pondering whether you could made a decision and […]

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Break Your Control Freak Habit And Catalyze Your Business

by Linda Feinholz September 27, 2007

By Linda Feinholz, “Your Success Catalyst” Most entrepreneurs are control freaks. And that holds for small business leaders and managers inside businesses alike. You’ve spent a lifetime, since your school days, in fact, being rewarded for taking personal responsibility for getting your assignments done. On your own. No one ever said “Great job handing that […]

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