What to Do When Your To-do List Keeps on Piling Up

What to Do When Your To-do List Keeps on Piling Up


I keep my own to-do list. And I encourage you to do so. A to-do list helps you plan, organize and prioritize your life. Personally, it helps me become more productive and encouraged all day. My personal favorite is when I check each item as done. Don’t you just love it when you accomplish tasks here and there?

But what happens when your to-do list keeps on piling up? When not a single line gets crossed out as done? What if your to-do list is tormenting you instead of giving you relief? What to do when your to-do remains as that… a list?

Most often, people who experience this shut down and wallow. Sometimes they even give up or give in. With the overwhelming feeling that a to-do list undone costs an individual, it is difficult to overcome the failure. It is debilitating and paralyzing at most. Let me share with you these self-tested tips on how to be productive with your to do list:

Keep your list limit. Take a look at your planner/notebook/ scratch of paper again. Take a really good look at it. Is it reaching bottom line in length? Is it mind-spinning just to look at? Then we have a problem. You have to learn to only write time-measured tasks that you can accomplish within the day. Do not consume yourself with too many things that won’t possibly fit in your day. Decide what is immediate and what is important but not necessarily urgent. When you have done this, revise your to-do list and voila, you’re on your way to be productive in finishing that list.

Use specific actionable words. Whenever you add a task on your to-do list, use verbs. For example in my to-do list for today one of the task says, “Write 2 blog posts”, below that I wrote the specific topics and keywords. I then feel energized since that translates to a small accomplishment in my day. Making things specific will keep you on track and it will lessen the hassle on knowing where to start.

Take down the biggest task first. Take on the most difficult or most hated task first, once you do this, your biggest hurdle is out of your way. You can now have greater confidence to finish all the other tasks. Don’t believe the myth that you should start slow. This will only delay the inevitable. So go ahead, you can finish that big task, you will have to face it soon anyway, why not first.

Stick with your deadline. If you have set a period for tasks to be done, make sure that you keep it. Have you ever felt relieved or happy whenever you do things at your preferred time table? Have you ever felt defeated and discouraged when you would postpone a task due to your leniency with time? This is a morale game. Every day is an opportunity for you to finish the race on time and boost your morale.

Be on the move. Once you strike out a to-do, do not sit back, relax, and celebrate just yet. You have more time to do that at the end of your work day. Continue moving through your list until all tasks are done. When the work time is up, see what you have accomplished and you will be surprised to see your list going, going and now gone!

These are just some of the things that you should do when you get overwhelmed with your own list. Remember, you created that list to help you and not to torment you. So make it an ally by following these tips on how to be productive with your tasks.


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