My to-do list is massive, and I’ll bet yours is too.
The world never slows down, and new tasks, errands, projects, and obligations are always zooming our way.
Most of the time, it’s easy to choose the most important tasks to complete during my day.
But what are you supposed to do when EVERYTHING on your list is extremely important? Or what if you’re too overwhelmed to think logically about prioritizing?
Here’s my suggestion for you: tear up your to-do list!
No, I’m not kidding! But I also don’t mean you should rip it into shreds and go hide under the covers for the rest of your life.
When you’re really stuck and have a hundred items staring you in the face, write them all down on a piece of paper. It doesn’t matter what order they’re in. The point is to get them all out of your head and in front of you.
Next, rip or cut the paper until you have each task on its own little strip. For me, the act of tearing paper is really satisfying when I’m feeling crazy stressed.
Now that you’ve got all your to-dos on separate strips of paper, it’s time to take control. Here are 3 ways to tame your to-do list.
Narrow Your Focus
Dump all the bits of paper into a bowl and stir them up. Then, pull a single piece of paper out of the bowl. This is your next task. Ignore all the other items in the bowl and simply direct all of your attention into completing this 1 task, no matter what it is.
By narrowing your focus, you’ll feel the “energy of completion” from accomplishing this 1 task so you’ll be motivated to do the next one.
It’s the snowball effect, baby! Finish the task completely before choosing another strip of paper from the bowl.
Categorize Your Tasks
Lay out all the pieces of paper on a flat surface and group them into 3-5 categories such as business, family/friends, health, personal, etc. Limit it to no more than 5 groups so you won’t get overwhelmed.
Next, choose the category that is the most important for you to work on TODAY. Be honest with yourself.
By using categories, you chunk your huge to-do list into just a handful of options. After you pick the category you want to focus on, determine the easiest “win” from the tasks, usually something that will take fewer than 10 minutes to complete (maybe sending an email or making a phone call).
Delegate Your Tasks
Just because something is on your to-do list doesn’t mean that you’re the right person to do it. Put aside any slips of paper that have tasks that someone else could do for you.
Be brave and ask for help! There’s no need to be a martyr and do everything yourself.
Once you have the tasks that you can delegate, hand out those assignments to your kids, spouse, coworkers, or whoever can help you.
Do this before starting your own responsibilities. You’ll feel less stressed and able to move forward when you know other people are taking care of things for you.
This post focuses on Step 4 of the Life Editing Process, Rearrange Everything Into a Perfect Flow. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.
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