How to Feel Good about Your To-Do List

Some of you are neat. Okay, most of you are neat. You have a special planner or notepad that you use specifically for your daily to-do lists. Or maybe you are like me, and tend to grab the nearest scrap of paper amongst the piles to jot the list down when you remember to do so. Either way, we make to-do lists. WE ARE THE LIST MAKERS. *cue the inspirational music*

We make lists to remember what we’re supposed to get done, to set goals, and to ensure a productive day. Not surprisingly, these lists usually end up making us feel like crap.

Why? Because we fill them to to the brim with so many tasks it would be impossible for anyone without super human abilities to complete everything before bed-time. Sure, that first or second check-off felt good, but by the time 8-o’clock rolls around and there are still 20-hours worth of tasks on the list, we feel like failures. Completely and utter failures.

Time to grab the bucket of ice cream and watch romantic comedies starring Tom Hanks.

No! You stop right there! This gluttonous catharsis has got to stop! I’m going to let you in on a little trick to help you feel better about your to-dos.

First of all, get yourself a handy little planner. Something you can easily carry with you in your purse, duffel, yoga bag, whatever. No more scraps of random paper for me you! Make sure it has enough space in each day and places for notes. Now, I want you to start thinking longer-term: weeks/months instead of day-to-day. In your previous list making, you would place 10+ tasks on a single list and hope but fail to complete them all into a single day. NOW I want you to spread those tasks out throughout the week, jotting each one down on the last day possible you have to complete it.

Finally, when you find yourself with extra time in day, having already completed your minimal tasks for THAT DAY, you can move on to the tasks you have planned for future days. It will feel SO GOOD getting work done ahead of time instead of feeling like you are falling behind.

Turns out, we don’t need super-human abilities to reach our goals, we just need some realistic space in-between our steps to get there.


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9 thoughts on “How to Feel Good about Your To-Do List

  1. Heather October 3, 2012 at 7:18 am Reply

    That’s what I do to manage my day to day tasks, although I have a weekly schedule that I snagged for free somewhere that I print out. Come holiday shopping and craft show time I’ll print out multiple to help me organize a month at a time, never again will I be scrambling to meet deadlines like I did my first time around. Rookie mistake!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns October 3, 2012 at 8:14 am Reply

      Yes, it’s especially important around craft show season to write stuff down. You don’t want to be the seller who forgot to bring change or business cards!

  2. Alisa October 3, 2012 at 8:42 am Reply

    Oh, it can be so overwhelming all the things we need to do to get ahead with business…it can almost be discouraging and make you second guess the reasons why you want to have your own thriving business. But, I have found that To Do lists are AWESOME because when you write everything in your head down, you can see it, and then realize that it’s not a swirling hot mess, but logical. Check marking ‘done!’ on a to do list is one of the best feelings, too!! :o)

  3. All Unwound October 3, 2012 at 11:17 am Reply

    GREAT tip! I’m so happy I set my goals very very low today and have met them! According to your post I now get to do something from a future day.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns October 3, 2012 at 11:56 am Reply

      You got it! nothing like getting ahead, it’s SUCH a great feeling!

  4. jess2bead October 3, 2012 at 11:18 pm Reply

    I have gotten in the habit of writing what I accomplished each day so that when I do write my to do lists I can better gauge what I can realistically do and predict more easily how much more I can push. Always good to not feel like a failure. :)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns October 4, 2012 at 8:25 am Reply

      That’s a great suggestion Jess. Not only does it help you gauge how much time it takes you do do certain tasks, but it also allows you to feel good about everything you’ve completed throughout the day. A sense of accomplishment can be a great reward for our efforts!

  5. […] when I had you re-think your to-do lists in longer-terms to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed? Now I’m going to add some more tasks […]

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