Never-ending ‘to do’ lists!

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If you are like me – always busy and doing a million things at once – you will ALWAYS have a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm! The only problem is that this ‘to do’ list never seems to go down, no sooner you cross one thing off, another things appears on it! Sometimes I just want to cry when I look at my list because I just don’t even know where to start and I feel so overwhelmed with all the things that I need to do that my brain just goes into overdrive!

We live in an age where we are all super busy ALL the time and we are trying to (over) achieve all these goals at lightning speed, which gives us little time to sit back and process what we are doing and why we are doing it. Often I look at my list and think “why am I doing this, do I really need to do this?” I usually sit there and procrastinate for ages about this thing on my list which I don’t really want to do but I think I need to do. I’ll give you an example…

So my list at the moment looks a bit like this:

- Write a newsletter for website
- Start presentation for upcoming talk
- Design flyer for upcoming talk
- Do some research for website to create new content
- Do client files and research
- Look for hall to hold classes
- Pay bills
- Do webinars (8 hours’ worth)
- Do more webinars (on a different subject) – another 12 hours’ worth!
- Buy niece’s present
- Clean house
- Buy food for dinner
- Call my friend back
- Email some info to another friend
- Book a course that I want to do

Wowsers that’s a BIG list, right?!

No wonder I look at it and want to cry! There is a lot of stuff on there and I’m sure that your list looks exactly the same (but with different ‘to do’s’). There are at least 3 things on that list that I don’t actually want to do and if I ask myself honestly whether I need to do them, I would say no. Being the annoyingly overachiever-type personality that I am, I think that I need to do these things because they will benefit me in some way and if I don’t I will miss out! Doing the webinars is an example of this. I have literally had months to do one set of these webinars but I’ve not done them, and the time allocated do them is about to expire so I feel that I need to cram them all in but if I do that I won’t have time for anything else. Also, I don’t really want to do them (otherwise I would have) because it’s not really where my focus is right now but because they have been booked and paid for, I feel like I need to follow through with them. So I procrastinate. This leads to wasting more time and not getting the other things done on my list which only leads to one thing and one thing only people – STRESS! Complete and utter unnecessary stress that we can totally avoid if we become more decisive and make our ‘lists’ about things that are going to make us more productive and become one step closer to reaching our goals and objectives.

So where do you start? It is all about PRIORITY and STREAMLINING.

Firstly, write down all the things that you need to achieve TODAY – not tomorrow, not next week and certainly not next month! If you do this, it gives you focus and a clear objective of what you need to achieve in the next 8 hours (or however many hours you set for yourself). I’m not saying that you shouldn’t write down all the things that you need to do over the next few months or year, still do this, but not on your daily ‘to do’ list. What I recommend  is that you write down all the things that you need to do on a piece of paper (a bit like a brain-dump) and then beside the specific task or thing that you need to achieve, write a date that it needs to be completed by. So whether it is a deadline at work or a cut-off date that you need to pay for something by, write it down because it makes you accountable and will prevent the feeling of total overwhelm that you need to do everything now! Also, forget about all the things that are not really a priority for you right now as these things just stress you out unnecessarily and take up your precious time! So if you don’t want to meet that person because you don’t really have time to, or you don’t want to do that course because it isn’t your area of focus at this moment in time, then don’t do it and certainly don’t add it to your list! Say no, and then move on.

The next step is write your daily list and number all the things on it in the order of priority that you need to achieve them. So number 1 would be the first priority, number 2 second and so on. If you get to the end of the day and haven’t achieved all the things on your list, then don’t stress, if it was essential that got it done today, then you would have got it done. When you write list tomorrow, perhaps number 10 will have jumped up the list. Your Priority List is always evolving and on some days you may find that you need to move number 8 on the list to number 1 or 2, because the urgency to complete this particular task suddenly becomes more imperative i.e. the deadline to get the project done is tomorrow.

The other thing that I want to mention is DELEGATION. If you have something on your list which you can delegate to someone else, then DO IT! Time is something that we all have seem to have little of these days so we need to use it wisely and that means dedicating our time to the things that we do best so that we can get the best outcome. If you can save yourself time doing something that isn’t your forte or that doesn’t necessarily require you to do it personally, then delegate it as your time is better spent doing things that are helping you to achieve your end goal – whether that be making more money, getting a promotion, getting to spend more time with your kids or doing something you love. If you don’t want to spend 2 -3 hours out of your day cleaning the house, then hire a cleaner. Yes hiring a cleaner costs money, but if you take those 2 – 3 hours out of your day to clean the house, then that it is 2 – 3 hours away from working on a specific task that is going to potentially get you to your goal sooner. Another example is building a website, spending hours and hours trying to learn or do something that isn’t really your forte is a bit of a waste of time, especially when you can invest in someone else to do it for you, an expert who can do it in a third of the time that you can and in doing so, will get you results faster. Yes it may cost you money but why spend months and months doing mind-boggling techy stuff when you could spend that time getting the content or products together to sell on your website. It’s all about perspective people!

Every day I am one step closer to achieving my goal, as long as I apply myself and take action.

Do you have a never-ending ‘to do’ list? How do you manage your time to make your life easier? We would love to hear your thoughts and strategies so please share by leaving a comment below.


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Michelle is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, Reflexologist and Reiki practitioner who is passionate about living a holistic lifestyle and helping others to achieve their health goals. She is also a Jungle Body Dance Fitness Instructor, which not only keeps her fit but also helps her to inspire others to feel confident and get in shape.


  1. Kate

    March 13, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Ahhh, Michelle, we are too alike!
    I love your list process – I too, have been struggling to get everything done, but am also a chronic procrastinator. I’ve been experimenting with a little theory called ‘Delayed Gratification’… If I get the cruddiest jobs out of the way first, I can spend the rest of the day doing the jobs I actually enjoy doing and so far so good!

    • Vitality Corner

      March 14, 2014 at 1:40 am

      That sounds like a great theory Kate, I think I need to try it! It’s amazing how much time can just be spent procrastinating and stressing about things you DON’T want to do. By tackling them head-on and getting them out of the way, life would be so much easier!

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