How To Get Ruthless With Your To Do List To Avoid Overwhelm

How To Get Ruthless With Your To Do List To Avoid Overwhelm

Hey there Busy Mama!

Know what one of the worst culprits is for making you feel overwhelmed?

That ma-hooosive To-Do list you’ve got rolling around in your head.

It can feel so frustrating when you want to/need to/should be doing #allthethings but aren’t getting to them.

Feeling busy without really achieving anything.

Yup, been there.

Fortunately for you I am now allergic to overwhelm.

How do we avoid overwhelm as mothers and business owners?

Well, a great place to start is being SUPER INTENTIONAL with our time and it starts with…

Your To-Do List.

So I have developed some pretty nifty strategies for getting ruthless with that list so you can focus on what is really important and keep everything afloat.

And keep your sanity in the process.

Sound good?

Let’s dive in.

But before we do -

I HIGHLY suggest you get someone to do this task with you.

I’ll tell you more about why in a bit.

1. Get That To Do List Out of Your Head

The purpose of this is many-fold, my friend.

First, writing it all down and seeing it often enables us to get some perspective and see that things aren’t that bad after all.

Second, only when you can take a good hard look at it can you see what can be done about the situation (more on that in a minute).

Third, keeping all those things swimming around in your head is EXHAUSTING.

Literally.

Having things you need to remember to do and constantly thinking about tasks, depletes the energy of your brain’s prefrontal cortex.  When your prefrontal cortex has run out of juice, you feel overwhelmed.

Simple as that.

And guess what else?  It can actually lead to sugar cravings.

Weird, huh?

So, what are you waiting for?

Get it all on paper.

2. Separate Out The ESSENTIAL Tasks

OK, now you have your list on paper, it’s time to arrange it into two groups.

One group for everything that is an ESSENTIAL activity.

One group for everything else.

Before you go ahead and tell yourself everything is essential (yes, I am a mind reader)....

STOP!

I have a handy little checklist for you.

This will separate the wheat (essential activities) from the chaff (non-essential).

For every single item on your list, ask yourself if it ticks at least one of the following boxes.

If it does, it is essential.

If not, non-essential.

Checklist:

>> Is it a money making activity?
>> Will it bring me joy or wellbeing?
>> Will it have a significant impact on the health or happiness of my family?

Ah…. I know what you’re thinking.

But there are things on this list that will make other people happy??

Guess what?

As lovely as it sounds, making other people happy is not your job.

Making yourself happy is your job.

Making themselves happy is their job.

Don’t let those people pleasing tendencies add things to your list that feel essential but aren’t and end up adding up to an overwhelming To Do list of doom.

You feeling burnt out and overwhelmed is never worth it.

Got it?

Ok.

Go separate your list now.

3. The Three Ds of List Management

Everything that made it through the checklist scrutiny above is now on your ESSENTIAL list.  

Those are your priorities.

Any pockets of time you have should be focused on smashing through those babies.

For everything that was relegated to the Non-Essential list, now what?

Well -

I just came up with these handy 3 D’s (it’s a concept I’ve used since corporate days but just found a fun way of naming them all to start with a D!).

Feeling rather pleased with myself.

Anyway, my inordinate pleasure in alliteration aside, here they are:

  1. Delegate
  2. Do Later
  3. Destroy

Go through your Non-Essential Items and decide whether you can Delegate it to someone else, Do It Later or Destroy (i.e. just cross it off your list and never think of it again).

A little note on each:

Delegate

As the perfectionist, control freaks that we often are (yep, recovering over here but still totally succumb to this from time to time), it is easy to forget that there ARE people in our lives we can delegate things to.

And we have to just GET OVER the fact that they won’t do it how we would like it done.

Too bad.

It isn’t worth you feeling burnt out and overwhelmed for the sake of that Non-Essential task getting done how you like it.

If it really needs to be done…

Then done is better than perfect.

Give it to your partner, kid or someone you employ.

Find a way to farm it out.

Then let go of it.

Do Later

Do not -

I repeat, DO NOT

Fall into the trap of putting everything into the Do Later list.

This will not help you to avoid that feeling of overwhelm.

Only put things on this list that can genuinely wait without you constantly thinking about it.

And give yourself a date at which is it ok to revisit it.

So that it doesn’t creep back onto your list.

But really you should try to Delegate or Destroy as much as humanly possible from the Non-Essentials.

Why?

Because they are not contributing to your happiness, well-being, bank balance or family’s well-being.

So why are you spending time on it??

Just in case you needed that reminder.

Destroy

This one is why I recommend you don’t do this alone.

We become weirdly emotionally attached to things on our lists.

We feel like we can’t possibly just NOT do something on our list.

So it helps massively to have someone with a subjective pair of eyes to help you with this task.

To ask why this even ended up on the list.

To call you out on that crazy story you’re telling yourself about the sky falling in if it doesn’t get done.

There will be things on your list that simply do not have to be done.

Fact.

Your mission is to find them and destroy.

Now -

All that’s left to do…

Is stand back, look at your MUCH more manageable, realistic, focused To Do list…

And…

Breathe.

There we have it, 3 quick tips for getting ruthless with your To Do list to avoid that overwhelm that none of us want to feel.

If you would love some support in achieving your vision of success without the overwhelm and sacrifice, we should totally chat.

Click on the button below and let’s schedule a free call to do exactly that:

How To Get Ruthless With Your To Do List To Avoid Overwhelm