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What needs to be done?

How do you start work? Do you look at a to-do list and ask yourself "What do I want to do?"

I wouldn't.

A to-do list is boring and trivial. It's a list of some things that we think we might want to do. It gets cluttered easily and gets stale fast.

A better way to get to work is asking a question: What needs to be done?

Or even better: What needs to be done to achieve X?

What needs to be done to launch this?

What needs to be done for this to be a solid product?

What needs to be done for this to be a great experience?

This question makes you more focused on a concrete outcome and the tasks that lead to it.

Additionally, it shifts focus from you and "What do I need to do?" to the work and its goals "What needs to be done?"

This shift is important. It's easy to obsess over what we want to do and don't want to do when looking at a to-do list.

If you ask "What needs to be done?", you only see things that need to be done and things that don't, at the moment. There is no I in the sentence and there are no emotions.

It's a better question.

So, what needs to be done today for you to achieve an outcome you want?