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In our fast paced, multitasking world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with things that need to be taken care of. As a freelance writer, my work never really ends. I do my best to ignore the emails and work on the weekends so I can enjoy the time with friends and family, but am not always able to do so.
When I do ignore my work for the weekend and sit down at my computer early Monday morning, I am quickly reminded of everything I have to get done. At the onset, I easily become overwhelmed. I have 100 things to do and I need to get them all done! After the initial rush of adrenaline subsides, I clear my mind and refocus. I create a to-do list and begin to tackle my outstanding tasks one by one.
Overwhelmed By Your To-Do List
I’ve been making to-do lists for years and like to think I am good at making one. You may be asking, what is so difficult about making a to-do list? Well, there is definitely an art to list making. You can’t simply make one all encompassing list of every single thing you need to get done. This is where many people struggle with their list making.
If you put every single to-do on your to-do list, you are most likely going to have a page worth of to-do’s. That would be overwhelming for me too! Instead of listing everything that needs to get completed, you need to prioritize your list. Here’s how:
Prioritizing Your To-Do List
1. First, you are only going to write down the things you absolutely need to get done today. For those new to list making, this is easier said than done. If this describes you, then go ahead and make a master to-do list. Once you are done, circle the items that need to be completed today. Then, rip off that list and start a new list with the circled items and ignore the master list.
2. Once you have your list of things that need to get done today, you create a hierarchy. You can re-write your list and place the most important items at the top, followed by the next most important thing, etc. Personally, I just make notes next to each item as to what are the most important items.
3. Sometimes, even after making this list, you will still be overwhelmed by the amount of things that you need to get done. Have no fear. In these cases, I find a few easy things on the list that will take the least amount of time. I get them done first and cross them off. Seeing the quick progress motivates and encourages me to keep pushing forward.
The idea behind making my to-do list this way is to eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. By learning to prioritize and only focusing on the most important items, you can knock out most of your overwhelmed feeling. Of course, once you make your new to-do list, you have to make sure you focus on getting the tasks done. You can’t make your list and while doing one thing, meander into watching television or surfing the internet.
Readers, what are your tricks to to-do lists? Does a to-do list ever overwhelm you?