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Virginia Wells

How To Conquer ‘To Do’ List Failure

Are you sick of to-do list failure? I’m a to-do list writer, as some of you may be. I rely on my list to keep me on track. But I find myself putting too many things on my list of things to do.  I often then feel disappointed when I don’t do it all.

Sound familiar? I know some of you are nodding.

Why doesn’t the to-do list get done?

There are lots of reasons. Sometimes it’s as simple as life getting in the way. You might need to drop everything to help a friend. You might need to pick your kids up from school, or something urgent pops up that you have to deal with. Often when this happens to me, I’ve found that I don’t acknowledge that sort of stuff in my day. Instead, I get down on myself about what I didn’t do.

Sometimes the list is just too big. I blame this on perfectionism, or living in the ‘ideal’ world. You know that place where everything runs smoothly all the time and all our things get done? That place totally exists right? Pfft. Stuff happens….

Alternatively, stuff on your list is too ‘chunky’ so it never gets ticked off. How about this task – ‘Type up Report’. You might have something similar on your list. This task might get avoided because the task is too big. The first step might actually be ‘Speak to Joe Bloggs about A, B, and C so I have the correct data for the report’.

Lastly, it could be fear of the list itself. When we have so much to do, you can get paralysis. Others may say you’re procrastinating but I’m a believer that there’s something else blocking you from doing it. The fear of failing can be a great one.

So how can we conquer the list if all this is going on?

  1. Question yourself and be honest. How long will that task(s) realistically take? Can it be done with the spare time you have today? Can you achieve those 12 things on your list or can you really only do 3? What’s really holding you back from completing that task?
  2. Give yourself a break. Sometimes you should have restful activities on your list. If you MUST do something on your list, then add in all elements like taking a walk, or reading a book.
  3. Put a positive spin on those disaster days. If the day fell apart around you, re-frame it. Maybe you displayed courage and perseverance throughout all the ‘crap’ that went on around you. Maybe watching those Dr Phil re-runs was you admitting to yourself that you needed a break and you finally listened to your body.
  4. Reflect. Take some time out at the end of each day to reflect on what you did achieve. It can quieten that voice in your head giving you a hard time.  It makes you recognise the other things you did do that may not have been on your list.

What is your experience with to-do list failure? What are your top tips on staying on top of all the things you need to do? Share below or in the WellSorted Facebook Group.

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