My to-do list became unmanageable so I did it. I declared to-do list bankruptcy. In our 24/7 365 working culture that we now have due to technology, our to-do lists never stop growing and if we don’t keep on top of them, we’ll never have the pleasure of seeing our to-do list empty. I don’t know about you but often when I know that I have a lot left on my to-do list at the end of the day, it can often prevent me from relaxing when it’s time to wind down.
A couple of weeks ago I made the mistake of taking an unplanned day off and neglected my todos. This seemed like a good idea at the time; I was exhausted from a hectic week and my willpower was at an all time low. However, for the remainder of the week after the impromptu break, I was trying to play catch up and was failing miserably. By the end of the week my daily to do list was over 20 tasks long. It was then that I started using the phrase “I’m really busy” which sets the alarm bells ringing.
Enough was enough. I declared “to-do list bankruptcy” and took all of the items off of my list and put them into my inbox. I had to wipe the slate clean and not worry about my deadlines just for a little while. I then spent some time regrouping. I went through each task in my inbox and reassigned a deadline attempting where possible to only need to complete 3 tasks per day. This then allowed for the following things:
- My days became super focused without a need for multi-tasking or hopping around a dozen tasks in one day.
- By limiting myself to three tasks per day it forced me to really think about my priorities.
- Sometimes life will get in the way and sometimes people will even throw some last minute tasks at you. Having only 3 tasks on my list each day meant that having extra last minute tasks added to the list was less likely to de-rail me and put me behind schedule.
- When my three tasks per day were completed, it would give me the ability to make note of what remained of the day and decide whether or not it was time to relax or whether I should get a head start on the next days tasks (and of course getting far enough ahead can justify a well earned day off – it’s important to recharge too you know and avoid burnout!)
Screwing up my todo list and starting again has really been one of the best things I could do for my productivity. It has given me the space to think. It’s also allowed me to be present in what I’m doing without having to worry about the one hundred and one other things that needed to be done that day. Most importantly at the end of the day I have been able to rest easy knowing that I have done everything that I set out to achieve!
Have you become overwhelmed with your todo list recently? What did you do to get back in control? Let us know in the comments below!