Most of us know how to make a to-do list, and chances are you’ve got five different places you can do it: Your phone, your computer, a notebook, your daily planner, and the back of a receipt in your wallet are all good places to start. But sticking to the (usually long) list of tasks that you promise to complete in a day is the real problem, and for everything you DO accomplish, there always seems to be something that you forgot or didn’t have time for.
Instead of letting your unchecked items bring you down and stress you out, care2 has some suggestions for giving your to-do list, and yourself, a break:
1. Make a list of everything you plan to do in the next week - Be specific, and list each thing by day.
2. Review the list, and decide how much of it you think you’ll REALLY be able to accomplish – Be honest and realistic – will you really have time for everything on your list each day?
3. Sort through your list and decide which items you can let slide – Put stars next to the items you most want or need to accomplish, and cross out items that aren’t as important. Cross out as much as you can, so that you’re really focusing on your top priorities. Just try not to let the same things slide every day (decide you’ll skip the gym on Wednesday and Friday, but not Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday).
4. Really let go of your non-priorities – Be mindful of actually letting go of the items, so that you don’t feel guilty when they don’t get done. If you have extra time, you can add them back onto your list. Otherwise. you’re off the hook.
5. Reward yourself for your accomplishments – If you accomplish everything on your re-vamped to-do list, reward yourself with a small treat – a foot massage, talking on the phone with your friend, or reading your favorite magazines in bed. Instead of feeling guilty at the end of the day, you can feel proud of what you actually got done (and you’ll probably be more productive).