Is your ‘To do’ list driving you to distraction?
I was talking with a client about her ‘to do’ list. Every day, she diligently makes her ‘to do’ list. Every day, she also makes herself very stressed by having said list, because inevitably, the list is so long that she finds it almost impossible to complete. She is setting herself up for failure – each and every day. Her stress levels because of this, are so much higher than they need to be.
This got me thinking, as these things often do. So last week when I was out with a friend and talking about how so many people seem to do this to themselves, I had a bit of a moment. You might even call it an epiphany, although looking back it’s so simplistic, that I can’t believe I haven’t thought about this before. And the thing is, that I can’t even claim the credit for this, because it was my friend, or rather a friend of hers who first mentioned it.
So what was this epiphany, I hear you ask? I’m glad you asked. Instead of a ‘to do’ list, how much more easy to achieve would be an ‘enough’ list be? So, this ‘enough’ list would be the things you have to do during your day, which by doing them would be enough. Think of how much easier that would be. How much more satisfying, because you’re actually likely to achieve the things on this list, than you the the more extensive (they generally are) ‘to do’ lists of the past? I just means you’re not putting yourself under undue pressure to achieve things that are unachievable!
I’ve been trying it out myself over the last few days, and I have to say, it feels good. At the end of the day, I’m still achieving the important things that need to be done, it’s just that all the silly, niggly jobs that don’t need to happen immediately, and so don’t make it onto my ‘enough’ list, don’t constantly get carried forward to the next days’ ‘to do’ list. So I’m not having to beat myself up for not having done them, because they weren’t important enough to get on my ‘enough’ list. I hope that makes sense.
I’d urge you to give it a go, and let me know what difference it makes to your stress levels. I’d love to hear from you.