Are you OVERWHELMED by “THE To Do List?”

For years, when I counseled individuals and families, one of the main complaints was the ongoing “TO DO LIST”.   There were working moms with so much to do and dads working too many hours.  Most had a long To Do List – too long to accomplish and too long to feel accomplished.

When I looked at my” to do business list” there were 34 things to accomplish and 12 on my “personal list”.  Overwhelming – yet my children were grown, so it was easier, yet still daunting and unwelcoming.

A Solution?:

A business coach gave me a solution.  She said, “Select three things to do that day for your business focused upon making money.  Do those first, then follow with others.”  Yet there were things that had to be done before I could get to those things, so the overwhelm was still present.  There were interruptions that derailed me. It did help some, yet not enough.

Time for You?:

Sadly our to do list preempts having time to do fun things.

  • Does your free time equal doing nothing because you are too tired?
  • Are you overwhelmed, then stressed again because nothing gets done?
  • Does your to do list grows on its own?
  • Do others try to delegate their list to you?
  • Do you volunteer for too much – then resent it?

Are you feeling accomplished?:

Part of the issue is not feeling accomplished because of “the list”.  One of my clients found a solution – she threw away her list.  She felt good, but guilty, yet she did not have to look at it anymore and felt that if something really needed to get done, she would be forced to do it – usually last minute.  Then she felt stressed in a different way.

Just delegate?:

It seems that there must be a simple answer.  We have computers and faxes and emails – all things that in fact do make our lives easier, yet they give us more options and more ways to become derailed.  One of my friends said just delegate.  Not possible I said – everyone else has his own list and I don’t have employees in my business.

Is there a solution?:

There has to be a way to win with the list.  What I tried next actually worked – most of the time.  Each morning I looked at my list for business and highlighted the ONE thing I needed to do that would increase or support my business.  I scheduled it on my calendar – as if it were a client.  Yet, when I accomplished it and eliminated it from my list, I still felt daunted by the growing list of things still undone.

What is missing?:

A new tactic emerged by writing my list differently.  On the left was my to do list and on the right was my accomplished list.  Hmmm, somehow as the list on the right grew it became easier to get more things done on the left, and with less effort.  This felt great!

New sense of accomplishment!:

My overwhelm was removed and a new feeling of accomplishment emerged.  We don’t often – if ever, take time to pat ourselves on the back for a good day’s effort.  This works well with children/students as well.  They too feel overwhelmed.  Ask them what they felt good about accomplishing today – not what do they have left to do?  Then give them a compliment and see how much more they get done.  It works!

Positive attention creates a feeling of good self-concept – something we don’t get enough of.  Why – well because we are too stressed over what we have not done.  So set one goal to accomplish today and when complete, move it to the right side of the page – and celebrate your attainment.  Yes –  it feels good!

What is amazing is the to do list actually does get shorter due to less overwhelm and more personal recognition for your accomplishments.  Try it and see for yourself!

We are human “beings!”:

In one of my graduate classes the professor said, “You are not human “doings” – you are human “beings” and you need to “just be” more often.”  Made sense to me.   Ask yourself – How would you like to “be?”  Then make time to be and have fun!  – Celebrate you!    And smile!

Live Happy & Healthily,

Nancey