Reviewed by: Erica Grandjean, APD, BNutr&Diet
Even in the digital age, writing a to-do list is one of the most common quirks of being human.
Most of us, at some point, have written a to-do list, either scribbled on multiple post-it notes or neatly typed out on Notepad.
Whether or not it gets done is irrelevant. Sometimes, simply articulating everything we need to do feels like an achievement.
However, there’s nothing worse than the paralysis you feel when the list gets inhumanly long.
So, with this in mind, here’s one trick that will literally cut it in half.
…and here it is: delete the list.
Yep, you read that correctly! When you feel overwhelmed, delete it. Everything goes: from packing lunches or cooking for the in-laws to writing a report.
It will feel wrong (and slightly thrilling) to delete everything. But, this is a very important step towards getting everything done, as counter-intuitive as it sounds.
Which brings us to step two – re-write the list, but slowly.
First, take a few deep breaths to calm your mind and refocus. This will help you feel more in control.
Next, spend time re-writing your tasks with the following in mind:
- Start with 3 – 5 priorities you can achieve today
- Identify which tasks are crucial to get done (i.e. other people are relying on you) and which are the ones you’d simply like to get done
- Create a separate list for tasks you’re unable to complete today or tomorrow due to logistical reasons (you’re relying on someone else, or forthcoming information)
Why this works
When you’re forced to re-write all your tasks, it forces you to re-evaluate what’s actually important with a clearer head.
The end result? More than likely you’ll have halved your to-do list – and you’ll feel a little more calm and motivated to boot!
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Also read: 5 Reasons You’re Tired All the Time