Too Many To-Dos

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I have two big time management problems:   I give myself far too many “To Dos” in one day, and set out to do a super job on everything.

My spouse has said to me: “Adequate on time is better than superlative late.”   She’s right, and when I heed her advice I do a much better job overall. But my lengthy daily to-do list ends up putting me way behind.   I have tried organizing weekly, but too many things come up unexpectedly for that to really work.   freakin-to-do-list

Like piling more on your plate that you can possibly eat, how do you manage to avoid putting more on your work plate than you can handle….particularly if there are many things to do, plus many more things you would like to do or see need to get done?







10 thoughts on “Too Many To-Dos

  1. Very true words spoken by your Spouse. And I had to laugh at the graphic of this to do list. So true and I’m sure most of feel that way a lot of the time. They should sell this list in Notepad form in Filofax size 🙂

  2. Although I’ve received a bit of criticism for this, it works for me. At the head a list I insert a task I am almost done with or have actually finished and I can cross it off right away. Now, instead of a new list with a number of tasks on it, it’s a “work in progress” and for some reason becomes easier for me to work my way through. As I said, it works for me.

  3. I too have an ever expanding to-do list. What works for me is to keep all my tasks electronically – I use Remember the Milk because it syncs really well between phone, PC and tablet, which means I can update it throughout the day. I print a copy off first thing in the morning and add tasks due that day to my filofax. I also keep a copy of the whole task list in my diary, and all tasks are reviewed and updated weekly.
    So far, this is working really well for me. I think the key is to keep all tasks in one place, so if new ones come up I just write them on the printed version of my task list that I keep in my diary and add to Remember the Milk whenever I can.

  4. My life has been pretty crazy lately so I’ve been having a hard time with this. However, my most successful way of list making is to write down all the MUST do’s in one section of my daily page. They are things that really MUST be done. Then I have a separate section with my dailies – stuff like tidy, vacuum, laundry, dinner, etc. I have a third section where I list a few extra things I want to try to get done. Then I just do the best I can. But the must do’s have to come first.

  5. Getting S— Done would be a better bet than GTD.
    also try reading “Attack Your Day Before It Attacks You”. This is a great one, it’ll help you keep in mind what’s important and what is fluff.
    Promodor (don’t think I spelled it write) of setting timer for 20 minutes and go like a tornado. This definitely works as well and can be combined with the methods above.

  6. Hi Karen!

    My Mom was a champion list maker, and one of her secrets was to remember that not getting everything done in a given day was okay; prioritise and be willing to move things to the next day when necessary without feeling like a failure (I struggled with that one for years, but am finally pretty good at it, at 52).

    I love your spouse’s advice as well; often “good enough” really IS good enough.

    Oh, another trap I had for years was spending so much time writing lists that I used up the energy I could have used for doing things; I started making far less detailed lists and that helped me.

    Best of lucking taming your to-dos!


  7. I would love to know people’s suggestions too! Normally I write things that need to be done sometime during the week in the notes space on my weekly page (in my weekly planner), and what MUST be done today on my daily page (in my day per page planner). My problem is, I’m so busy taking care of urgent and time-sensitive tasks that the non-urgent (but still important) tasks get pushed off week after week. I don’t have a set daily schedule so it’s hard for me to block out specific times to take care of these. Somewhere I read a suggestion that for items like this you should set a timer for 20 minutes each day and knock out as much as you can. I haven’t tried this yet, but I do know that if I don’t take the time to do these they’ll never get done!

  8. Karen, what a timely post. I am in the midst of planner fail becuase my to-do lists are growing quicker than I can get them done. I’ve now fallen into the trap of having my to do’s written in multiple places. I hope some of your readers can offer some suggestions.

    • My problem is different. I can’t make myself write a to do list, so all the STUFF is roaming around in my brain.

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