How to deal with long, overwhelming to-do lists

Keep Calm and Cross It Off. How rto deal with long to-do lists

You know there are few things more satisfying than crossing items off your to-do list. But the sight of a long to-do list can be totally demotivating. And most days you’ll be lucky to finish half of the things on your to-do list.

So to take control of your to-do list I’m going to suggest something pretty crazy. Just cross things off your list without doing them! You will get satisfaction from crossing items off and you reduce the length of your to-do list to something you can finish today. Three benefits with a really simple technique.

But I’m guessing you’re not sold because I can hear a voice saying, “Hang-on, you can’t just cross things out without doing them”. Well you can and you should because:

  1. Don’t cross things off randomly, cross off items that aren’t worth doing - you will never be able to do everything and it’s incredibly important to decide what not to do

  2. Move items that are worth doing but less important to a file or notebook titled “someday”. You’re not saying that you’re not going to do them, just not right now. You can do these when you have finished what is more important. Every now and then review your “someday” list and if something is really important it can be promoted to your main list

  3. This has just removed low importance tasks. These are taking up your time and distracting you from doing what is really important

  4. Now you can focus on finishing the important items before the day is over

This will increase your focus, make you more effective and make you feel much more positive about your to-do list.

So when your to-do list is getting you down, the first thing to do after making your list is to Keep Calm and Cross It Off


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