Your “to-do list” isn’t judging you…I promise
Today I want to talk about something that seems a little silly but the message is important — “to-do” lists. I love a good “to-do” list. Sometimes I’ll write things on the list that are super easy and simple because I love the feeling of crossing it out and feeling this sense of accomplishment.
This week’s topic: Reframe your “to-do” list
There’s nothing wrong with “to-do lists.” The problem that I see with these lists is how we judge ourselves based on how many items we have on the list. Here’s a common scenario for my clients. They have a million things to do each day. They have their long to-do list and say to themselves, “Today I’m going to get to everything!”
Their day starts, emergencies happen, there are phone calls and emails and the unexpected meeting. There’s the client that needs that answer today or a boss who keeps giving you more and more to do.
By the end of the day, my clients feel defeated and drained because they only crossed off maybe 2 or 3 things from their list. They beat themselves up. They tell themselves that they’re lazy or not very efficient or they feel guilty for leaving the office without having done everything on that list.
They vow to get it all done the next day and then it all happens again…phone calls, emails, bosses, clients…you get the picture.
Action Step: Accept your to-do list will never completely go away.
You will never not have a list of things you need to get done so stop judging yourself for having items on the list in the first place! Praise yourself for the things you did get done that day. It’s a simple mindset shift but it will help you start to reframe what you’ve accomplished each day.
Another way of doing it is only have 2–3 things on your to-do each day anyway. Those 2–3 things need to be your top priority and you need to tackle them very first thing even before you open up your email! Get those done and suddenly you’ve accomplished your list and you haven’t even had lunch yet.
What about those 200 other items you ask? Well those go into your “tomorrow” or “it would be nice” or “lower priority” list. Those items can then be placed on your new list for the next day or later that day.
When we have too many options and too many things to do we get overwhelmed. This strategy allows us to control the chaos and continue to focus on what is the top priority for that day.
Quick tangent: Accept life will always be challenging. Your to-do list will always be long. There will always be something to buy, fix, give away in your home. There will always be a new problem to encounter and solve.
If you’re waiting to praise yourself or feel relief when all your challenges are behind you then you’ll be waiting forever. This is your life. It’s happening now. Stop waiting until your to-do list is clear to enjoy it.
That’s it for today!!!
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