Greetings and Salutations, Blog Readers.
You make a to-do list. You have a few items you don’t get to. You put them on the next list, and before long, you realize these items are just stressing you out. Sometimes, this tells you something important.
Sometimes, these items are quick things you will hate, but once you are done, the stress will be ended, and you will feel one hundred percent better. If the items are something like this, then take a few minutes, and do them, mental clutter sucks.
If these items are things that are big, maybe break the task down into little parts, and put the first thing on the list.
Take for example a giant task, like cleaning out a bedroom. Put on your list to get all the trash out of it, and go in there with a trash bag. Collect all the trash, and toss it. Now the next thing can be remove everything that doesn’t belong in the room, and then you can cross that item off your list.
Sometimes these big projects need to be broken down. Even if we know the steps, even if we know the things that go into getting this item totally finished, when the task is too big, we may not want to tackle it. By breaking the task down, you ensure you actually start on the overall task, by removing trash or items that don’t belong, you are making progress and the big job becomes easier.
Maybe the item on your list wasn’t as important when it first made it’s way onto the list, but due to passing time, it is more urgent, and a bigger job, so you hate yourself a little bit, and don’t know how to get it under control.
Maybe you let the laundry go, or the fridge has been taken over by old leftovers that have their own colonies on them, however it happened, you didn’t address it when it first made your list, and now you have a bigger list of crap to worry about.
Like with the last task, make it smaller. Start the first load of laundry, maybe the clothing you will want to wear after you finish cleaning, and a couple of towels for the well earned shower, and toss those in the washer. Maybe grab all the items that can be thrown away, out of the fridge. Focus on the Tupperware containers you will need to dump out and clean, which is the much grosser part of the job, after you have completed all the stuff that you don’t have to clean out. Once you get started, the job is, mathematically, smaller, and, you are more likely to keep working on the project having gotten started on it. Even if you don’t continue the project right then and there, it is now easier to do to, and therefore will be easier to come back and finish later.
Maybe the items on your list are things you aren’t very good at, or that you are scared or even unable to do alone. Maybe you need to transplant those new plants you bought on a whim, or maybe you have to move an old couch so you can get a new one.
The internet is enormously helpful. And researching something is a major job. The thing you don’t know how to do, like transplanting your basil, is easily found online. Write “Research transplanting basil plant” on your list, and you can focus on the knowledge you need. Next you can put “get container and more soil” on your list, followed by “prep plant for transplant, all before finally arriving at “transplant basil plant.”
Breaking your list down can be key to actually getting some of those big items done, just like actually doing those small, annoying tasks, you force one action and before long you have half your list done.
Because sometimes once you get started, once you get that one thing done, you want the next thing done…
Which is when making sure your to-do list has things you can feel accomplished from doing, are listed.
I never find a chore too small to put on my list…even a small chore that I can do without thinking about it, is another item I can cross off my list, building my feeling of accomplishment, building up my momentum, and encouraging me to actually do a few more items off the list before sitting down to rest.
Another important thing with to-do lists though, is knowing when to actually make changes to your list.
There is nothing wrong with breaking a list down into several smaller ones, smaller more manageable lists. A “Monday list” all the way through Sunday, with the little things you do every day incuded with the massive list you are breaking down.
Doing this over time can also build habits and help beat any “lazy” habits you have accidentally created. Having a list of tasks that is manageable, and not impossible, that you are motivated to do by having some smaller, easier tasks right up top, will make you more likely to actually start, and even finish, all your tasks.
And it’s also important to know when items should just be removed from the list. If you keep not being able to do something like say “Move that heavy dresser” or “hang that TV” something that requires two people, there is nothing wrong with making a “when I have help” list…otherwise you are putting items on your list that you can’t hope to finish or do, which just demoralizes you, allowing evil zombie thoughts of failure to enter into your head and tell you what a failure you are, when in actuality you are doing fucking awesome.
Don’t let the evil zombie thoughts that say mean things about you win. If it requires two people, a car, some store trip…if the task requires something you can’t yet do, or that requires other action, stop putting it on your list of shit to stress about everyday. Put it on a weekly or even monthly “Check on it” list or even a “When able” list. You can keep these lists in an easy to find place, like the fridge or a cork board, to check on the items, but please, for me, and for yourself, please stop making impossible to do lists full of items you can’t achieve.
Stop beating yourself up when you can’t do it all.
Reorganize your list, break it down, seperate it out, and make it many lists, and strike off anything you don’t need on there. Give yourself some credit, and a break.
And don’t be afraid to change your to-do list.
Thanks for reading.