How to get through an overwhelming To Do list

Do you ever feel like you aren’t on top of things? I have been trying so hard to get through my “To Do” list and yet it just seems to be getting longer instead of shorter. It’s that feeling of trying to keep my head above water.

I’m not complaining… it’s good to be busy. I do feel like I have neglected my blog though and I’m sorry.

In the craziness I have done the following silly things over the past 10 or so days:

My socks have the little “L” and “R” on them – I have worn two “L’s” yesterday and today it is the two “R’s” turn.

I went to a photo shoot yesterday (post coming soon) and as I was driving home I suddenly realised I’d left my cellphone charger at the studio – luckily I had only driven 3 streets down from the studio, so I did a U-turn and went back. I got my charger but I didn’t realise I had left my entire mini suitcase with my high heels and change of dresses behind, so when I got home, only my handbag was in the boot of my car. I had to collect that today (another thing to add to the To Do list.)

I left my watch behind. I feel naked without it.

I left my cellphone at home. I felt even more naked.

I left my laptop charger at home with only 10% battery life and a full 2 hour radio show.

I mixed up the days. I was convinced it was Friday today, so I arrived at tomorrow’s meeting, this morning. I’m just glad it wasn’t the other way around.

Here are #5 tips for getting through an overwhelming To Do List:

#1. Breathe. The minute you start feeling like the world is on top of your shoulders, take a deep breath in and slowly let it out.

#2. Make a cup of tea or your favourite beverage (a glass of wine is good if it’s not 8am – just saying) and write down everything you need to do. Prioritise it into a list of columns, such as:

Must be done today.

Must be done this week.

Must be done by next week.

When you do this, it makes each list feel a little smaller than if you just write each point down underneath the other resulting in a long overwhelming list.

You can then start on the Must be done today list. As soon as you get the ball rolling and you get to scribble your first tick, it motivates you to be able to scribble down the next tick.

The real trick here is not to use list making as a procrastination – ahem…guilty.

Try to take the emotion out of what needs to be done, write it down as quickly as your fingers will allow and then get cracking. I sometimes find myself getting even more stressed when I write it all down and see the mammoth tasks in black and white. However, if I don’t write them down, I tend to forget them and I don’t like dropping the ball.

This list is also handy if things pop up (and they always do) throughout the day. You can just write it down under the correct priority column.

#3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re human.

#4. Don’t be afraid to say no. This is a hard one sometimes and something that I am still learning. It is OK if you can’t be at every function or every meeting; if you can’t do that errand and so on. Until we have some crazy science technology that can clone us, you can’t split yourself into 3 or 4 people. Rather do the tasks whole heartedly than spread yourself thin.

#5. Focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is fantastic, but sometimes certain projects, errands or tasks need 100% focus. If you get distracted by things, remove it. If you get distracted by TV, turn it off. If social media distracts you, log off and only log in once your tasks are ticked off. I promise it will still be there when you return and you will feel guilt free when you do your catching up.

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