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Surviving To-Do List Overload - Connie Mann

Does your to-do list have its own to-do list? Are you lying awake at night with endless lists of things you DIDN’T get done running through your head? Are people saying things like, “Gee, you look terrible. Are you getting any sleep?”

Thanks, I’d love to. But I can’t get my brain to shut up!

Maybe the problem isn’t your brain. Maybe it’s…ahem…you. You’ve unwittingly become a victim of can’t-say-no syndrome. Or, you’ve been taking too many B vitamins and think you can do the work of three people—in four hours. Over-achiever syndrome is the evil twin of can’t-say-no syndrome. Both of these will rob your life of joy and make you just plain crazy!

Maountains in Margau, Romania

Gaining perspective-Margau, Romania

Any of this sound a teensy bit familiar? Then welcome to my world. Hubby says I regularly try to schedule things into one day it would take a team of four a week to complete.

 So here’s what I do when I feel like I’m spinning on a top and I. Can’t. Get. Off:

1.  Take a deep breath. Hold it. Let it out slowly. Do it again. Simply forcing yourself to slow your breathing will ease that panicked feeling and calm your racing heart.

2.  Next, grab your to-do list (or jot one down if you don’t have one) and read it. All of it. From top to bottom. Give yourself a minute to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Really? All of this today? What am I thinking?

3.  Once you’re done laughing, get your pencil out and read the list again. Time for a reality check. What on it really, absolutely, positively MUST get done today? Pick one thing. Just one. Do that one.

 4. Enlist objective help. I usually ask hubby to help me prioritize my list. Within five seconds he pencils numbers by the important items and says, “Forget this other stuff. You don’t have time.” Now why didn’t I think of that??? 

5. Before you add anything back on your list, ask yourself whether it is important, or merely urgent. I get in big trouble when I confuse the two.

After that, I can get back to work, knowing I’m doing the things that are most important. 

That’s my strategy. I’d love to hear yours…