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Friday, July 25, 2014

Can't stand your to do lists in your Filofax, Midori, Smartphone? Here is the solution

My problem with to do lists is that if I see the long list of to-do's, my desire to do something just disappeares. PERIOD. Then I don't open my Filofax at all, change my set up, go watch some kind of new film that "I wanted to watch for a long time, and it is on my ''someday/maybe" lists" (my exuse), browse Facebook, go cooking (that's inevitable because we have to eat, really). I noticed this pattern and started to work on it. And, with time, I got much better with tackling my tasks. Here is what worked for me:

Accept that it is impossible to do it all. Yeah, you don't have to do it all (Yay!). Reread it. You don't have to do it all, and  you don't have time to do it all.  Try to estimate the time that you need to complete every task on your to do lists. I guarantee, that after about 20th task, you will start to notice that not all on your list is that critical for you're well being. After some more esimation, you'll start to find ways to exclude tasks from the list, after even more tackling, all that you want to do is just to cross them off or delete them. Go ahead and do it!

What to do with the dreadful tasks that are LEFT on the list and NEED to be done anyway? I have the "no thinking" strategy for this. Often everything is already prepared, and all that I need to do is just to START doing them. I need just one last kick in the ... (I'm not going to write it out!).  This spring I needed to prepare my wardrobe and my daughter's wardrobe for the changing in seasons. I have procrastinated for weeks, until the weather BECAME warm. The very first step was to clean out my closet from the winter clothes and to clean it. On a Sunday, we were preparing to go out for the gym class, that had the fixed starting hour, and I just grabbed several items and put them in the bag for a storage. I didn't think about it. I just did it. One simple movement. Time pressure. And I did it. It didn't take even 10 minutes to store away the clothes. After the gym, I cleaned the rest of my closet and quickly was done with my daughter's things. I started it, and it was easy, so my inner barrier was broken, and I have finished without problems.

Often what's stopping me is overthinking. That I need more time to do it, that I need more energy (especially in the evenings, after work, when all I want is to lay down), that I need the right time (guess what, for the dreadful tasks there is NO right time EVER),  that my daughter is going to interrupt me (and she's going to, and what, don't do anything at all because of that?). Don't think too much. Often what do you really need to do is just start to do it, you will get into the flow, and THEN think about what to do next in order to finish the task, and how to do it.

That's all for now. Hope you would share what works for you in the comments!

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