How to get things done and conquer the to do list

Why procrastination might be giving you more stress than you realise



What is procrastination? Well it literarily means putting something off till tomorrow.  There is no avoiding the to do list and as soon we seem to tick things off and even complete our list it always seems to fill straight up again. 

I have found this a stressful thing about daily life in the past especially with working and being a mum.  There are always a million jobs to do, important issues to deal with and boring day to day tasks to get done. I used to walk around with this list in my head and feel weighed down by it.

I felt like it was impossible to ever get everything ticked off my list and this made me keep putting things off and trying not to think about the difficult tasks, let alone attempting them.

I don’t know what made me make a change, or when exactly it happened but I do know that I realised that I was putting jobs off. I recognised that when I did this it was the vey thing I imagined to be difficult or stressful or that I just had in my head that it would be a nightmare to do. 

But thats the weird thing about your brain.  We often build up a picture in our head of how something will be or how it will go and 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t go the way we expect it to.

I made small changes when I realised I was delaying a task I thought to myself “I’ll just do it now”.  When I did tackle it I found that it was usually much easier than I had imagined and I had actually saved myself a whole load of stress by getting it out the way.   Not having it at the back of my mind for ages, and worrying about how awful or boring it was going to be was a much better way state of mind rather than trying to bury the thoughts of worry.

The weirdness of or our brains constantly amazes me.

When I found how much easier I made life by simply doing things that I wasn’t looking forward to sooner and getting through big challenges it made me want to do this more. I felt really liberating.

Then there was another issue to think about.

I still had the problem of the never ending list.  I pride myself on being organised and getting things done gives me a lot of satisfaction so the idea of having an unfinished to do was not a good one. What I had to get my head around is that when your life is full and brimming with everything you are doing, family, kids, friends, home life, and don’t forget work then you are going to have a constant to do list. 

The key thing to get into my head was that I needed to prioritise that list rather that eliminate it.  The ultimate goal I had of completing it and having nothing important to do so I could relax was an unrealistic goal and I was setting myself up for failure daily.  I was living in constant disappointment with myself and this wasn’t healthy.

So I had to learn to prioritise.

I took on a new way of thinking.  Important and urgent things need to get done today and its okay to move less urgent tasks to the next day or another day when you have more time.  The to do list needs to be thought of more as a constant flow of ins and outs.  You can be in control of it and you don’t need to let It control you.

5 tips to be more organised

  1. Get important tasks out of the way first. Do the most important or difficult things first. This way the rest of the list seems easier.
  2. You don’t have to complete the list. Prioritise what has to be done now and move things that can wait to a day when you have more time.
  3. Remember you are only human. You can only do so many things at one. It doesn’t all have to be done at once.
  4. Reminders Use reminders and digital lists to help you be organised so that you are not using your brain more than you need to. Phone reminders are brilliant for this I couldn’t live without them now. I also love Trello as you can have as many lists on the go as you want. You can share them with anyone and as its on my phone (and my desktop) I can add or tick something off whenever it I like. 
  5. Set aside some time.  Make sure you allocate some that is solely for getting things done so other things don't get in the way of important tasks.  I like to have one day a week where my list is the priority. its my getting things done day.

Keep in your mind that you don’t need to let your to do list run your life. Look at it, rework it, make decisions about when you will do things and above all be flexible. 

You are in control of it and it doesn’t need to control you.

Use methods and tools that work for you to stay on top of things and don’t give yourself a hard time if something slips though the net and you forget to do it. Just learn from it.

I have had so many times when I have forgotten things and used to tell myself I was useless but when I actually thought about it I realised I am not useless I just needed to be bit more organised and set myself reminders. 

I don’t feel so rubbish these days.  I still forget things sometimes but its usually when I’m rushing and trying to do too much at once. I know what that is try to tell me. I need to slow down.

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