Does it seem so overwhelming that you aren’t even sure where to start and so why bother starting at all? – or are you the type to get loads crossed off every day and are in control of things, even though things keep getting added to it?
Whichever you are, my betting is that you always have something on your TO DO list at the end of each day.
So – is it really possible to get it down to nothing – or are we forever chasing an impossible dream, and beating ourselves up in the process for not getting everything done…..
What do you think?
I asked this question to my lovely facebook followers this week – and everyone was in agreement that there was no way your TO DO list could ever be blank – unless you were talking about your daily TO DOs rather than your master TO DO list of course.
Although everyone wanted to know a way to do it (I’m working on it I promise!!!)
It depends which TO DO list you are talking about!
I am in full agreement that a daily list shouldn’t overwhelm, but help to you progress towards what you want to achieve.
Really we are talking here about the Master TO DO list – which should be everything you need to do at some point in time that can’t as yet be scheduled into your diary.
Getting the Master TO DO list under control
I talked in a recent post about how to organise your Master TO DO list so that it is more manageable, but didn’t cover whether it would be possible to get everything done ever.
My thought – NO.
It simply isn’t possible to get everything done at any one given time, why?
Because life gets in the way.
No sooner have you got one task done, you will find that that either creates a new task, or someone else has created one for you.
Your TO DO list is a cyclical beast!
Learn the cycle of your TO DO list
What is important to understand and acknowledge when you have a TO DO list is whether things are staying on the list for too long.
Your TO DO list should manage tasks – both incoming and outgoing.
Tasks shouldn’t be left on the list for months/years……
You know the types of things – things that you really don’t want to do, things that can be swept under the proverbial carpet, the clutter from your TO DO list that you simply aren’t seeing anymore.
New things always seem more inviting
Its the same with anything – you are happy with a specific item in your home until you see a new version – and then you want that.
Its just the same with TO DOs. The newer the task usually the more urgent or relevant to your life it is.
How can you combat those TO DOs that threaten to stay on the list forever?
Some organised people suggest adding a date to your TO DO list when the task was added – and to scan to see whats been on there the longest – getting those crossed off quickly.
Others suggest rating the tasks from 1-5 for both urgency and importance (5 being the most and 1 being the least) – multiplying the number together to give each task a rating, and then working through them like that.
I think that both of these can be very time consuming, and in the amount of time you’ve spent working out what TO DO – you could have actually done something instead!
If you use your TO DO list each day, then you should simply get used to adding things to the bottom of the list as they come in, and starting at the top of the list when you are adding tasks to the diary.
NB – if you are working with sublists such as TO CALL, TO BUY etc…. then just use each sublist in the same way.
Urgent tasks by their very nature should be date specific, so can be added to your diary within a specific time frame anyway – so should never hit your TO DO list – so we are only talking about tasks that can be done at literally any time in the future, and if anything suddenly becomes urgent on your TO DO list you should usually be able to scan and see it quickly if you look at it everyday.
Don’t beat yourself up
This post is really here to say that its alright if you don’t ever finish your TO DO list – as its pretty much impossible – what is important though is to make sure that things don’t stay on there for long – as these are the tasks that will make you feel worse every time you look at the list.
Who wants to feel bad?!
Simply put – Manage your TO DO list so that it doesn’t overwhelm you – and you never know, one day soon you may be staring at a blank piece of paper that is titled TO DO LIST……. I can dream can’t I!