Your “To-Do” List: Does it overwhelm you?

My name is Helen and I am a committed list maker.  I love making lists.  Can you relate?

My lists help me juggle multiple ventures and responsibilities.  The frustrating aspect is that my to-do list becomes so long that it begins to seriously overwhelm me.  Why not figure out another way to organize my to do list so it is more focused and doesn’t make me want to crawl back in bed?

With that question in mind, I decided to try something new.  I implemented a post-it note to-do list that is separated into three categories:

1) Immediate

2) Soon

3) Future

I made a page for each category and then used a post-it note for each task I needed to complete.  Each note is placed on the corresponding sheet of paper based on the 3 categories of urgency.  Here is what mine looks like right now:

to do listMy first page: “Immediate”

Tasks that need to be done today.

to do listMy second page: “Soon”

Includes tasks that need to be done this week but can wait another day.

time management

My third page: “Future”

Tasks that I want to do in the next month but are not urgent.

Time managmentIf you want, you could choose a color for each category such as home is blue and work is pink.  I have mixed feelings about encouraging people to do that.  Some individuals tend to over think things and then overwhelm the process which is the last thing I want to do! It’s not necessary but if you are a visual person, it may help you to focus your thoughts on what needs to be done next. 

Another suggestion is to use the back of each page to place tasks that you are going to do later in the day.  This reduces the number of tasks on one side and helps to keep you focused on those tasks that need to be done immediately.

Obviously, when you are done with an item simply remove it and enjoy placing it in the trash because your are done with it!  I am one of those people who get a lot of life by completing tasks on lists.  So far, I have been stacking my completed items in a stack on the other side of my notebook.  It allows me to look back at all I have done that day and feel accomplished.  Hey, it’s all about the small things in life!

I am still in the test drive phase of this post-it note to do list transition.  I am giving it a good 6 weeks to see if it helps me to simplify my to-do list and, as a result, prevent feelings of task anxiety.  Will you join me on this test drive?  If so, give me your thoughts on how it worked for you.  Any changes? Any tricks?

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4 thoughts on “Your “To-Do” List: Does it overwhelm you?

  1. I’m a list maker too! I used to become overwhelmed but lists or just use it as a “parking lot” for my thoughts, but never really accomplish anything written on them. Instead, I’ve now found a system that works for me and it keeps me on track every day. I also forget a lot less! I think it’s important to just find the style that works for you!

  2. I love your stationary, ie, “ripped out notebook paper”. 🙂

    This approach looks quite effective. I’m battling to-do’s now and merging several systems. I tried Google Keep and totally don’t see the hype there. Evernote, meh. It works fine but it hasn’t changed my life, as other people claim it did for them.

    I do like the simplicity of your approach. I may try it out. Thanks!

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