How to get real with your to-do list


I was talking to a friend yesterday and she mentioned she’d just done a to-do list of everything she needs to do right at this moment. The list stretches over four A4 pages apparently and includes such important tasks as ‘clean out the garage’.

Lists are awesome aren’t they?

Particularly when you’re feeling overwhelmed because writing down everything that needs to be done gives us a sense of control over ‘all the things’.

For the most part however, our to-do lists are fantastic forays into imaginary worlds where we all have unlimited time and resources at our disposal.

Every single one of us needs to get real when it comes to our to-do lists and to facilitate this, I have three tasks for you today.

Task 1

The first is to do what my friend did and make a list of ALL the things. That’s right, every single thing that needs to be done by you right now.

When I did my list it included things like:

  1. Pay lawn mowing invoice
  2. Follow up on tiling quote
  3. Change car details with the RAC
  4. Call the ATO
  5. Make meal that can be frozen and deliver it to friend who’s just had a baby
  6. Organise get together for all my friends so we can actually see each other
  7. Tidy up linen cupboard

Task 2

Batch similar stuff and just get it done.

For me, items 1 through 4 above are admin type things that I just keep putting off. But if I do them all together they will take 30 minutes tops.

So I probably should just do them already … right?

Task 3

This is the hardest but most important one.

Get real and delete things off your list that are just not going to get done. By deleting these things, you’re not saying they’re unimportant, you’re simply acknowledging you don’t have time to do every single thing you’d like to do. So I am going to delete items 5 through 7 from above off my list.

While I know making a meal for someone who’s just had a baby is basically the most amazing thing you can do for them … I have to acknowledge that I barely manage to make a meal for my own family each night. I will have to figure out something else I can do for that friend.

While I’d love to organise a get-together for all my friends, my currently flagging energy levels mean I need to keep my weekends as commitment free as possible at the moment. The get-together will have to wait a little while.

As for tidying up the linen cupboard … as much as it pains me every time I go in there looking for a towel, there are just so many other things that need my attention more right now!

Giving ourselves permission to let stuff like this go is akin to acknowledging an uncomfortable truth. That being :

We simply cannot be everything to everyone in our lives.

This is HARD. But for the sake of our sanity, it has to be done.

So, what are you going to cross off your list today?