I don’t know about you but I always have the best intentions when I make my to do list. I do it the evening before and feel very proud of that accomplishment. Then I get up in the morning and bam! Life intervenes…a client calls, a member of the family gets sick or the dog is throwing up…you get the drift. At that point, there are a few choices that can be made about that to do list that I was so proud of…
What to Do with your To Do List if You are in Crisis Mode
- If the items on the to do list can wait, let them wait
- If the items on the to do list need to be rescheduled, reschedule them
It’s that simple. When you are in the midst of putting out fires, the to do list or lists, no matter how important you thought they were when you wrote them, need to be prioritized.
What to Do if your To Do List Always Overwhelms You
Take a hard look at your to do list and see if you have realistic expectations for what you can accomplish in a day. Can you really bake 4 dozen cupcakes, wash and wax your car, sew a costume for the school play and make time for you and your partner after a full day’s work? Or you have finishing a major project on your list (that in your heart you know will take 20 hours but you really hope it can be done in 8 hours).
Pare your list down! Start with looking at what you really need to do during that day. What is an absolute must do and what can be done another day (no, this is not procrastination, this is good time planning) and see what can be done by someone else (delegation is a good thing!) and what really does not need to be done at all.
The Key to a To Do List that Works
It’s how you think about it. Yes, we’ve talked about the practical aspects. So, let’s say that your day is going well, there are no unexpected crises…and your to do list has been pared down so that it is reasonable, can be accomplished by a normal human being in the time frame that you have allotted…and yet…it still isn’t getting done.
Here it is…the key…its how you are looking at that to do list. If you look at it and in your mind…that list is grey and foggy, out of focus and it feels kinda yuck…you’re not going to want to do it. You might be able to threaten yourself and criticize yourself…temporarily…but…we all know that doesn’t work in the long run…does it?
So, imagine that you are looking at that list…that to do list…in your mind’s eye…and that you can adjust the picture…just like a television set…adjust that focus so that it becomes clearer…sharpen it…so that it is amazingly clear…tune the colors so that you can make it brighter and bolder…all those colors…and imagine…if you will…that you can hear excited cheers in the background…when you think of that list…and how good you will feel…when it is done…because when we feel good about something…and we can see all those benefits of getting it done…we can…and pump those feelings up…those amazing strong feelings…and know…that you can do it…just because…
So, take a look at why your to do list is overwhelming to you…whether it is because you have biting off more than you can chew or your life is currently in a state of chaos or it’s because of how you are thinking of it all…you can change it…when you know the why, you can change the what…
"Drive your own life…you deserve to, don't you?" Sherie Venner
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