We are overwhelmed from the complexity and volume of information every day. Much of it comes from the ease of team members and customers having the convenience of being able to email and text us. In your given day, think about how much you read in your inbox. Pages and pages of content that has to be processed and deciphered.

On top of the vast amount of words that you will consume, everyone did not go through the same training on writing, leading or working. This creates a challenge as you seek to interpret what matters and what is simply noise.

Most information we get should support the work. That’s great when you need further clarity on how to get deliverables out. The process and groupthink that is often involved to drive clarity takes a lot of collaboration and repetition.

Ultimately, all the information that comes in has to move to lists. That ability to translate information into clear next steps is critical.

Pausing and simply asking, “What is the next step?” forces concreteness to a thread.

So, with the continuous onslaught of information you get every day, ask what the next step is. Then keep and maintain clean lists for each project. Start each action with a verb so you are clear on what to do next. Verbs such as “communicate,” “research,” “design,” and “set up” get your mind focused on what physically or mentally has to happen.

Then knock out each item one by one.

This is true for teams that share lists as well.

The review, reprioritizing and re-clarifying of agreements you make with yourself and others in project lists tames much of the chaos that will inevitably hit you in a day. So, again, use this process to simplify the complexity:

  1. Move information to action (Shift + T in Gmail)
  2. Update your lists – use verbs, reorder priorities, clean up what doesn’t matter)
  3. Do your tasks

Keep getting clear and keep moving things in and out of your lists based on the ever changing reality on the ground. And, when things don’t matter anymore, simplify by eliminating tasks and projects.