When we start distracting ourselves from things that need done, it’s often because we don’t have a clear plan for what we need to do and when we are going to do it.
By the end of this blog post, you will have a clear plan in place and know exactly what you need to do next.
I’m going to go over a few mistakes you might be making when you’re writing a to do list and then I’ll walk you step by step through making a to do list you can actually keep up with! 🙂
the top 3 mistakes you're making when writing a to do list
- Putting too many tasks on it. For example, we might put cleaning our house on our to do list, goals, or things that need done in the future. It is good to have these things written down, but they need to be separate from your basic to do list.
- Putting big tasks on it instead of breaking them down into smaller steps. This causes us to feel overwhelmed by the task and have a hard time getting started. For example, instead of writing down to have next week’s blog post and podcast episode ready, I will divide it into recording and editing podcast, transcribing and uploading it, etc.,
- Not categorizing tasks correctly. When we put everything on the same to do list, it causes us to feel unfocused and overwhelmed. For example, if you have a business or your significant other has a business, you are a caregiver for someone else, have children with busy schedules, etc., then write out those to do lists separately.
what to do when you're overwhelmed by your to do list
When you are overwhelmed by your to do list, only write down the tasks that absolutely need done. Then commit to completing three, easily achievable tasks per day.
how to organize your to do list
- Grab a few pieces of paper and something to write with. It doesn’t have to be anything pretty or fancy, printer paper will do!
- Write a category on each sheet of paper. For example, home life, my husband’s business, my blog and podcast, etc., Write down whatever categories work best for you, just keep it simple and don’t divide things up too much.
- Draw a horizontal line across the middle of each page. There should be two different sections on each one of your papers: one section on the top and one on the bottom.
- Write current on the top half of each page and future on the bottom half of each page. Current will be for anything that needs done in the next week and future will be for anything that needs done beyond that. But make sure it’s not goals, things you want to do, etc., Only focus on things that actually need done!
Write down anything that needs done this week under the current sections and anything beyond that under future. Remember, we are focusing on the things that we actually have to do, not anything else.
Grab another piece of paper and write down this week on the top of it and write the days of the week below it. You are going to keep all of these papers together, but every week you’re going to rewrite your weekly page and keep it on top. That way, you’re not getting distracted by what needs done in the future.
Write down the non-negotiables tasks that absolutely need done this week. These are things that have due dates, deadlines, or specific dates and times like doctor appointments or events.
Fill in the gaps with other to dos until you have three tasks written down per day. Go through your current lists and pull three tasks per day as long as it is easily achievable. If it’s too big of a task, divide it into smaller tasks.
If you use a calendar or planner, fill it in with your three tasks per day. You are only going to write down three tasks a day, so it doesn’t overwhelm you. If you get them done you can always start on the next day’s tasks or pull another one from your current list if you want to keep going.
Remember to keep all of your papers together and always keep the weekly one on top. That way, you aren’t getting overwhelmed about the future. Instead, you will be able to focus on one week at a time.
I really hope this helps your mind feel less cluttered and that it took away the overwhelm about your to dos. If you have any questions or found this helpful, let me know by leaving a comment below and I will get back to you! 🙂
** Search for The Simplify Mom Life Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. If you’re more interested in the blog posts, scroll up to the top pink bar where it says get weekly step by step guides to simplifying your life and click where it says click here to get each blog post sent straight to your inbox every Tuesday morning! 🙂 **