Do you feel overwhelmed by your never-ending to do lists? You are not alone!
These lists evoke negative emotions in most people. They seem like silent reminders showing us just how far “behind” we are and how impossible it is to ever catch up.
It doesn’t have to be like this. There is another way to work with your to do lists that is much more fun and energizing and will help you simplify your days.
It all begins with the realization that your to do lists are tools that are there to help you, not the other way around. When I realized that my to do lists are really there to support me, rather than me having to satisfy them, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
What’s good about to do lists?
- Jotting things down on paper alleviates having to think of them or worrying that you might forget.
- From your list, you can choose the items you feel most compelled to do each day.
- Your list is a reflection of what is going on in your mind. Get curious about your choices.
- The list offers a place to decide what to do about the to-do’s:
- Do I want to do it myself?
- Do I want to delegate the task?
- Do I want to scratch it off the list because it is simply not that important?
Here are a few ideas that will help you make your to do lists work for you:
- Look at your to do lists and acknowledge that they are merely a tool serving you.
- Go through your to do lists and qualify items with M (meaningful), U (urgent), D (can be delegated and write down who you want to ask for help), E (eliminate, because it really isn’t serving you to spend your or anyone’s time on this)
- Once you have qualified your to do lists, ask yourself: Which three things do I most want to act on today? Highlight those and start working on the easiest one right away…this will fuel your energy supply to get ready for the next slightly more challenging task.
- Celebrate each accomplishment in a way that is meaningful for you. E.g. take a deep breath, smile at yourself, draw a smiley face next to your accomplished task on your list, or whatever feels best to do.
- By the end off the day, enjoy reviewing your to do lists and focus on your accomplishments.
- In the morning, review your to do lists and start back at point 3.
If your to do lists just seems too long and daunting, ask yourself, “Who are these to do lists serving?” If you notice that these are really your boss’ lists, your spouse’s lists, or your kids’ lists, then maybe it’s time to put yourself back on the lists and ask “What is it that I most long to do?”
Things such as having a soothing bath, going for a walk, talking to a friend, dancing, or laughing may come to mind. Put the activities you most long for on top of your to do lists and they will remind you to take care of yourself first.
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