Friday, May 29, 2015

An Effective To-Do List is a Short One

I can't remember where I read it, which is a shame--I know it's on a wonderful blog somewhere. But I read that if you feel like you don't have enough time in a day to do everything, maybe you're just scheduling too much in your day.

Now that thought follows me whenever I'm having a day that feels especially hectic. I think, "Did I schedule too much for myself today?" Usually the answer is yes.

I've learned that all that I can handle on my to-do list is two major items. That's it. Sometimes I add about three smaller tasks that take less than 15 minutes to finish each, but I try to keep my day open.

Life from one day to the next is totally unpredictable and having a long complicated to-do list was ineffective and really discouraging. One day I would mow through my to-do list, and other days were a struggle. There were days when I had it all planned out, but then a hit of inspiration would derail everything because I'm obsessed with a new idea.

With an unrealistic list, I'm more likely to skip it and go do what I want to in the moment, because it feels too challenging. I get more done when my list only has one or two important things, and I lose the stress of there not being enough time in a day.