For as long as I can remember, one of the standard pieces of advice that is given when you need to prioritize your tasks is to make a To-Do list. Many, especially if they’re setting themselves up in the business world, and others even in their everyday life, make a To-Do list each and every day. For many this is a successful practice. However, for others, it can be a very frustrating ordeal. The frustration comes in several ways. Either by the end of the day, they have found they did not have enough time to complete the items on the list. Some items took longer to complete than expected. The list has considered the items they deemed “important” to complete during the day, but did not allow for any time for breaks or errands that were needed to be completed. And, still others find that the unexpected comes up that requires their attention.

I am currently in the middle of taking a set of coaching sessions in an area known as axiogenics. While it would take quite a bit in a short piece such as this to explain axiogenics fully, be content with knowing for now is that it is based on value science. As human beings, in a given moment when we are working at our optimal, (feeling good about ourselves, no guilt, working in the moment), we are going to choose to do the activity or task that brings us the greatest net value at that particular time. That may prove to be an item on our To-Do List, or could at a given moment be one that addresses something we had not even contemplated when our day began. As such, one of the items my axiogenics coach asked me to consider is living by my daily calendar that I set up for myself, as opposed to a daily To-Do List. The request actually makes a lot of sense.

While I am one who has used To-Do Lists in my life, I am also very much comfortable in scheduling what I need to do through a calendar. The calendar holds my coaching appointments. It holds my meetings and activities. It holds my personal appointments such as medical appointments or errands that I need to run. Often in using the calendar, I’ll look to bring together items that may make sense to do on the same day and in the same time period, if just because of the fact they’re all in the same geographical area. When, I’m getting accomplished that which I have set on my calendar, I’m actually honoring and respecting those tasks that at that moment I’ve given the most importance of which to complete. If something else comes along, (and it can), I have a few choices. I can value the task that I have not completed and put aside and question whether it has a value that is significant for me at that time, or if it can wait? I can review the calendar for the future open periods and reschedule it for another day, (perhaps when I’m going to be in the same geographic area again). Or, I may be able to choose to do it on a different day and in a different location that has the same logistics that I’ll need to complete it.

While this can all sound very simple, ask yourself the following question, particularly if you are feeling stressed each day by the things you need to accomplish. Are you one who uses a To-Do list? Do you feel as if you are “a slave” to it, in that you must do what is on the list, even if some other items come along? Do you feel bad about yourself if you have not accomplished what is on the list at the end of the day? Have you considered not using a To-Do list at all? If so, are you looking for an alternative way to help monitor yourself throughout the day?

The To-Do list versus the calendar, does one approach work better for you than the other? Do you have an approach that works even better for you other than these two? If you do have an approach that has you feeling that you are always “in the flow” and getting done what it is that you choose to get done, I can assure you of one thing. You are definitely honoring your values and making the choice that best honors those values at that particular moment. If on the other hand, you feel as if you are always under stress as you go through a particular day, it is just as likely you are either not respecting your values of the moment, or being drawn into respecting and responding to those values that better serve another and not yourself. Keep that in mind if you feel that method that you use to help guide your day is actually dictating to you, as opposed to the other way around.

Author's Bio: 

Tony Calabrese of Absolute Transitions provides suggestions, approaches and information on how you can find a new job, move up to a new position, or change your career. To get his free report, "Overcoming Obstacles to Change Your Life" visit