Is your to-do list longer than Rapunzel's hair??
We often feel like we need to do a massive number of things, and we'd like to do them all NOW! Cue overwhelm, frustration & often a lack of productivity, because our brain just freezes! In the end, we then feel even more frustrated & upset because we then feel like we've wasted time on... well doing nothing!!
So if you are feeling snowed under with a list that is ever-growing; here's my little strategy to get you moving forward again:
1. Write everything you feel you need to do in a notebook
If you've got a few lists around the place, or have the one on your desk that's looking at you all the time; it's time to consolidate them all & put them out of sight. If you feel like you have too much to do, then the last thing you need right now is a visual reminder of that.
You will (subconsciously) keep re-enforcing to yourself that you can't possibly achieve it all.
I am all for vision boards, big-picture planning, post it notes & the works; but if you are overwhelmed and trying to just take the next step forward; it may be helpful to just move them aside for a time.
2. Choose 1-3 items for the day
It's up to you when; either just before bed or first thing in the morning; but choose UP TO 3 things from your big list for the (next) day. These items are not a stretch-goal or a 'hope to do' list; this is up to 3 items you WILL cross off your list.
Write these on a separate piece of paper/post-it/whiteboard that you will have with you at your workspace.
Why 'up to 3'? We all have days that we have less time to put into our businesses, so maybe it's a 1-task day. Even if it's a quick text you've been putting off or replying to an email; that's something off your list!
Why not more? If you've got a full day ahead of you; why not choose more?? Because that's essentially duplicating the problem of a long list again... Stick with three.
3. close the notebook and put it away, out of sight
Remove the visual of overwhelm from your sight. You know how you hide the chocolate stash from your kids so they don't know it's there? It's the same for us. Take away the visual and we are less likely to think on it.
4. do those 1-3 items that you CHOSE and then celebrate!
With just a couple of items in front of you; tasks that you have CHOSEN, all you need to do now is tick them off. Cross them out, rip them up when they are done... and then celebrate!! Whether it's time with the kids, chocolate or a facial... it just has to be away from your work & something you will enjoy!
When we have a running to-do list all the time, we can get overwhelmed and never feel like we actually make progress. Mentally, this makes us feel like we are just running on a treadmill instead of making progress forward. And honestly, it wears us down & sucks.
If we can finish our tasks each day, we can see the progress much more easily and have that sense of achievement! You know then you get a "second wind" because you can see the finish coming? Embrace that each day! So much better to end the day feeling accomplished & sets a much better tone for the next day.
You have also CHOSEN to do those tasks; this power of choice is very profound. Rather than feeling obligued to do everything; which leads to a stifled & out of contol feeling, we have chosen and committed to these tasks. This sets your mind up for success.
Of course, sometimes we hit roadblocks that make it very challenging to even want to move forward. If you are feeling like this is you; check out my Stuck to Smashing It Challenge to break the cycle of being stuck & give you tools to smash your goals!
PS. If you have done your 1-3 things; you can always go for more if you are on fire!!