I’ll go out on a limb + assume everyone of us has a to-do list that has no end in sight.
If you left me alone to write a to-do list I’d be writing for at least an hour. There is no formula to make your list disappear.
Mostly because there will always be something else to add to it faster than you can check it off.
First, you can make it shorter or more manageable in a few different ways.
1. Outsource. I know you’re trying to be superwoman + do everything. But I know you’re already superwomen + you don’t need to do everything, that’s inefficient. Get yourself some help - especially for the things you don’t like doing. Like who?
- partner + kids. Make a game, set a timer for 15 minutes, turn on some music + everyone cleans up as much as they can. Do this weekly or daily depending on how messy your house gets
- professional. It’s an investment, but if you’ve got WAY bigger priorities (and I certainly do) than mowing lawn or mopping the floor it’s worth it. Start where you can, an every 2 months clean can be huge + having the neighbor kid mow the lawn or rake leaves won’t cost much.
- teach your kids to fold laundry as soon as they can walk or whatever they can to help.
2. Schedule. Things that hang out on my to-do list for months + months are the worst. They nag at me because they’re easy, yet I don’t do them. Dentist appointments, hair, massages, dates, seeing girlfriends + family. These will get put off if you don’t schedule ahead of time + they’ll take a toll on your wellbeing. Plus if you schedule way in advance you don’t have to worry about “finding” a free spot in your schedule. This is life changing.
3. Prioritize. As I write this I also got really excited about the women’s retreat I’m planning for Spring/Summer. I could easily pop over to work on the website for that or start writing emails about it or planning the yoga class I’m going to teach…but that’s not a priority right now. The first thing on my list today is to “Write 4 Beautiful You lessons.” It’s clear + it’s what needs to get done.
So, once you do those things your list can shrink a little bit. Now it’s still full of things you don’t feel like you have time to do + maybe you don’t but worrying about that is making it worse. In fact, I could cause you to get stuck.
If I see a list of 20 things crammed inside my little schedule box for Monday, I’d probably crawl back in bed + binge on reality TV.
Since you can’t do ALL the things, you can change the way you look at it.
It’s a TOP 3 list.
- Every morning or every evening before (also a good way to let go of a spinning mind before bed), consider the priorities + create a list of the TOP 3 things you need to do.
- Also, be as specific as you can. Remember my list for today said write 4 lessons? If I had just said “write lessons” I may have ended up writing 2 or just one or gotten distracted because it wasn’t clear enough for me.
- When I need to make an appointment I write down all the info I need. The phone number to call, the dates I’m available, etc. *I try to avoid this by scheduling way ahead for recurring things.
- If you have LOTS of people to email it’s going to be a long + interrupted day responding here and there. Make a list + prioritize. Carve out 30 minutes to respond to the top 4 or 5 people. I tend to be wordy + want to be thoughtful when I’m responding or email coaching + this makes the process less “on the fly” which can really eat up your time.
- You can break this down even more so that you do certain things on certain days (family/personal matters, exercise, cooking days/take out days, follow ups, a project) Set it up to work for your life + if you are working on something specific + NEW like walking, bringing lunch, taking breaks or meditating, add those to your schedule too + you’re more likely to get them done.
I’ve seen this strategy work wonders for myself, friends, colleagues + clients. Taking the time to lay it all out + organize it helps alleviate the anxiety that comes only from the thoughts you have about your life + yourself.
You’ll feel awesome when you did all 3 things + still had time for a few extras.