How to smash your 'to do' list with a one-word tweak

Hands up who's already swamped by 2017? The kids are back at school and the 'to do' lists are long and multiplying by the minute. Will it never end?

Yesterday I promised to tell you the simple trick I've learnt for smashing that list into the stratosphere. Or, at least getting more done than usual.

It's so simple your eyes will water.

It's ... adding a verb to every item.

It's what?

It's adding a verb (action word) to every single item on your list.

The idea comes from online entrepreneur and Oprah 'thought leader' Marie Forleo

She calls it 'verberizing', but I'll just call it 'add a verb to the start of every item on your 'to do' list and you'll be golden'.

What does that even mean?

Well, instead of noting all your tasks as general (or vague) categories, such as 'Sally', 'Fiji', 'School shoes', 'Bank', you break them down into single actionable tasks with a verb (action word) right up front.

So, in these examples: 

'Sally' might be 'Ring Sally about the wine at Boxing Day lunch'.

'School shoes' might be 'Go to Mathers sale for school shoes for Bobby'.

'Bank' might be 'Make appointment with home loan officer'.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind here:

Keep each task small, actionable and doable. You're on the right track if you can complete the action in one sitting or one errand. So, break down the large tasks into all of their component parts. 

For example, on your list 'Fiji' might instead read:

'Book flights to Fiji for 5 June'.

'Ask travel agent about new hotel on beach'.

'Apply for two weeks off work'.

'Book hair appointment for 3 June'.

Be specific with your verb (action). So, instead of 'Get in touch with Sally' you might use 'Ring Sally' or 'Text Sally' or 'Talk to Sally at dinner about ...'. 

You get the idea ... 

Watch Marie explain it:


I started "verberizing" my 'to do' list at the start of January, and it works. I wouldn't have believed it, but that simple action word means I'm more likely to take action. And I feel far less overwhelmed as a result. So simple.

Do you have any 'to do' list tricks?

Are you swamped by 2017? 

Yesterday I told you about blogger and author Tsh Oxenrider's 'daily docket'. You could easily add verbs to the list on that, or to any other paper or online diary system.

Natalie Bartley