A simple way to shrink your to-do list.
If you feel like your to-do list grows by the day despite your best effort to check things off, you’re 100% normal. This is the reality of the modern life. As motivated contributors, it means you’re taking on a lot. The trick is to figure out how to not take on too much. Here’s how you can streamline your efforts and shrink your list into something that’s manageable.
Start by taking inventory. Brain dump every little to-do that pops up, gather your scraps into one central place, or fire up your nifty to-do list app (we love Todoist). You’ve got to be able to see what you’re up against before you can take action.
With everything laid out before you, go through the list and cross off anything that doesn’t need to happen. Put a big X through it, erase it, or put a shiny sticker over it, you’ve earned that satisfaction! Go crazy with it, set yourself free. Every item you remove is one less thing you need to worry about.
Now your list is only made up of what’s gotta get done. But, not necessarily by you. Go through it again and ask yourself “Do I need to do this?” The odds are pretty good a lot of what you’ve got on your list can actually be tackled by someone else. Mark the ones that you can delegate to a friend, partner, colleague, hired professional, or your personal concierge. Even better, mark who you’re going to send it to.
Finally, all you’re left with is what’s yours to do. Hopefully, it’s but a fraction of the original list. Now you can actually see what’s on your plate instead of being buried by a bunch of distracting tasks. Find ways to break each item up into bite-sized pieces. In this process, you may identify more tasks to let go of.
If you feel like your list didn’t shrink by much, consider doing the process with a finer comb. Really think about what your priorities are and who you know that you can lean on. It’s not about doing less for the world around you, it’s about being savvy with how you concentrate your efforts and empower yourself and others to focus on what’s most important.