I often feel overwhelmed with my task list, thus I get unmotivated. Then nothing gets done, while new projects keep getting added on; this causes the list to get longer and longer and me to feel even less motivated. I knew there had to be a way to make it stop! And there was. Here's how to tackle those long lists of chores, tasks, and errands. And make them fun in the process!
I learned that ineffective task lists make us feel overwhelmed and causes us to become worse at managing our time. Even when your task list is perfetly organized, when it's just simply too long, it can still throw you into a tailspin. What to do? Whittle it down into something more managable. This isn't about re-oganizing the list. No. it's about actually removing a few of those dreaded chores without suffering the consequences of not actually doing them. I thought this sounded inrealistic when I first read it but, it turns out, it can actaully be done. Here's the secret to doing only those things that you actually enjoy (or at least don't mind) doing:
1. Highlight all the items that you really dread doing. Not sure which ones are the worst? Start by thinking about performing each task. Hold it in your mind's eye and see how it feels in your body (very somatic experiencing). Then, highlight those chores and tasks that give you a sinking, uneasy feeling of dread. Next, highlight the things that you've been procrastinating on, as well as those things that you feel you should do but don't really want to do. In other words, highlight those things that someone else expects you to do, those things that you've always expected that you had to do and, finally, those things you do because you think they'll bring you status and/or power.
2. Delete or delegate as many of those highlighted items as possible. Start with deleting. Come on, you know there are things on your list that don't actually have to be done. The world won't come to an end if you don't bake cupcakes; you can buy them ready made if you really have to have them. If you're truthful with yourself, you'd probably never actually make those cupcakes anyway. Then you'd feel guilty for not making them...only making yourself feel worse. It's a never-ending cycle of dread and guilt. Take a stand. Remove them from your list. It's OK that you're not a baker....This may actually make you feel relieved and, at the very least, may make you feel a sense of accomplishment as you watch your list getting shorter! Notice your feelings, whatever they may be. Just don't get actively involved in them. Perhaps you may need to "mourn" a little. Feeling sad or having regret, that you'll never get that perfect family photo allbum made is perfectly natural. Allow a little time to heal or, do like I do, and have a nice cup of tea and simply "be" until you feel better. Now, delegate those things that somebody else can do just as well; washing the dishes, doing the laundry, taking out the trash, calling the plumber, etc.
3. Transform the remaining highlighted items, those things that just can't be delegated or deleted, into something you actually want to do. This may call for a little creativity on your part. I read that the one of the easiest ways to do this, is to pair an "ugh" item with something that you enjoy doing; sitting in the sun while calling and making appointments; playing your favorite "dance" or sing/along music while you polish the silverwear for Christmas dinner; listen to a good audiobook, while you run errands or shittle around the kids. You get the idea. Make that unplasant task as pleasant as it can possibly be! Understanding the value of the task to someone else is another great way to make it more fulfilling. If you're not sure what that value is, just ask yourself how peforming that task, or running that errand, is making someone else's life, or job, better.
Those "honey-do" and "to-do" lists are never going to simply go away. They're what we might call an evil necessity of modern-day life. So it makes sense to learn how to make them less stressful and, dare I say, even enjoyable! From here on in, I am going to evaluate every single item before I add it to my list. And those that don't have to be done, and those things that someone else can do...like my secretary...I am going to delegate. We all need help, from time-to-time, and it's not the worst thing to ask for it. Learning to delegate isn't easy for many of us, nor is learning to say "no" to those endless tasks that eat up our time. Becoming a better manager, or boss, of our own life and of our time is hugely important. And there's no better time to start than right now.