Managing a Long To-Do List
Posted on August 01 2016
You know those days when it seems like the to-do list will never end? Those are the days when the things don’t all fit in the planner and you definitely won’t need any help filling in the blank space.
Sometimes it is hard to focus when you’re faced with a daunting list of things to do. I know I have trouble staying on task when I know there’s just a slew of other things to do when I finish.
Here are some tips to help cope with that long to-do list. When I'm feeling stuck or like I'm just spinning my wheels, I try to make sure I've covered some of the things here to help me focus.
TIPS FOR MANAGING A LONG TO-DO LIST
I know the sweatpants are comfy. Trust me, mine are my uniform when I'm not leaving the house (and even sometimes when I do leave #sorrynotsorry). But there's something about changing into fresh clothes (and a pair of real shoes!) that signifies to my brain that it's time to get things done.
Take care of yourself
When we're busy, it's easy to put ourselves last. The problem is that we're always busy! You cannot keep putting yourself last, or else you won't be able to operate productively. Take a walk, do some yoga, or read something for pleasure. Heck, even just take a shower!
Water is so important, y'all. I know you hear it often, but that's because it's true! Staying hydrated will keep your head clear so you can focus on your list.
Sure, going full speed ahead will help you get that list tackled ASAP. But you're not a machine! All work, all the time will only lead to burnout. Give yourself some grace and take some breaks.
I am a recovering multitasker. I have been training by brain to work on as many things as possible since middle school, so I will be the first to tell you that it's a hard habit to break. But I've noticed I can get more done (and done RIGHT!) When I concentrate on one thing at a time.
Change scenery if possible
This is totally dependent on your specific tasks. Sometimes a move to another location can help you focus on the things you need to do. For instance, at this very moment I am sitting at Panera Bread to type this up. I had 30 minutes between errands so I popped in, ordered a cup of tea, and got to work.
List top 3 priorities
The best way to feel productive with your long to-do list is to know your priorities. If you spend most of your time plugging away at tasks that aren’t as important then you may run out of time to tackle the big things. Get the important stuff done first and feel accomplished no matter how many other menial tasks you cross off for the rest of the day.
Turn off the TV, and logout of social media. You’d be surprised how much time you spend scrolling Instagram when you have a minute free. Spoiler alert - it’s probably way more than a minute! If you have small children, this one could be difficult. You may have to work in 5-10 minute spurts while they are otherwise entertained with something else.
Set a timer
Decide how long you can dedicate to a task then set a timer and get to it. Work nonstop the entire time until the timer goes off, then take a short break. This method is often referred to as the Pomodoro Technique.
Connect with accountability partners
Finally, one way to stay focused is to connect with others that are also trying to work through their to-do list. Text your friend or sister and ask her to check in on you in a few hours. I’m sure she’ll be happy to oblige if you return the favor!
A long to-do list can seem extra daunting without a plan, but using some of these strategies can help you whip it into shape.
This post was written by Kristan Kremer for the Limelife Planners Media & Creative Team. For more information about Kristan visit her on Instagram @kristankremer. Don't forget to share this blog entry with your friends!