Friday, June 5, 2015

Why Your "To Do" List Might be Preventing You from Getting Things Done

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your to do list? Have you ever felt haunted by that item on your to do list that just won't go away on its own? It could be because you are doing it wrong!

Here are some examples of items that are not productive on a to do list:

  • Father's Day
  • Hotels for conference
  • Summer camp
  • Business plan
I don't know about you, but when I read a to do list like this I feel sick to my stomach with overwhelm, and it makes me want to give up on all of it without getting anything done.

What is wrong with any of these? They are TOO big. These are projects, not action items.

Can you "do" Father's Day? Can you "do" Summer Camp? No.

What you can do is break these projects down into specific, manageable action items. Tasks that you can actually complete and check off.

So, if you are working on setting up summer camps for the kids, grab a piece of paper and write Summer Camp at the top. Then write down all of the tasks that go along with that project. It is helpful to add time estimates and dates they need to be completed by, too. It might look something like this:

Summer Camp
  • Drive to park district to pick up brochure (20 minutes) - June 1
  • Scan brochure for camps kids are interested in (20 minutes) - June 2
  • Ask kids which camps sound good (10 minutes) - June 3
  • Register online for camps (30 minutes) - June 5
  • Add camps to family calendar (20 minutes) - June 7

Then choose only one or two things from this list per day to do. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed. If you can do more than that, great, but chances are, you have other projects going on that also need your attention.

Imagine how much smoother life will be when you were handling all of your projects this way! You will be making forward progress in no time!

My goal is to set my clients free by giving them the tools to coach themselves after a period of working with me. This is one of those tools. If you would like to learn more about how to streamline your life and enjoy more peace and happiness, email me at or visit

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