I don't know about you, but nothing stresses me out like an extensive and un-ticked to-do list. Since we're approaching spring, I've been antsy about clearing out the excess I've been allowing to build up in life - I've been recycling cardboard boxes that seem to build up here in the studio (where do they all come from??) ebay-ing the living daylights out of my wardrobe and making trips to the charity shop.
I've still got tasks on my to-do list from January.
So, in the spirit of spring-cleaning, I've given my to-do list a once-over as well - here are some tips to clear out the excess from your towering to-do list and make things a bit more manageable.
1. LOSE ANY YOU'RE BORED OF OR THAT DON'T INSPIRE YOU ANYMORE
So this probably not going to work for, say, 'doing the washing' or 'walk the dog', but it's okay to eliminate some tasks that you aren't really feeling anymore. For instance, I crossed a blog post or two off my to-do list over the Christmas period because I wanted to spend the time relaxing with my family instead of sitting at my computer. It's okay. The internet will be there when you come back.
2. REMOVE TASKS YOU FEEL LIKE YOU OUGHT TO DO
We have all added things to our to-do list once or twice because we saw someone else doing it and felt we ought to, too. A few years ago I had 'make a media kit' on my to-do list for the longest time, because all the other bloggers out there were making media kits, and all the 'infopreneurs' were offering templates and guides for how to make one. I eventually realised I didn't really need or want a media kit for my blog because I am not a full-time blogger and I didn't plan to be. It can be helpful to asses you to-do list for tasks that you might have added because you feel like you ought to get them done, not because you actually want to.
3. SET ASIDE A DAY TO GET THINGS DONE (and then give yourself a massive pat on the back!)
In my family we like to call this 'life admin'. For me this will be stuff like fixing a hole in one of my favourite tops (why is it so much effort to pull out my sewing kit??) packing items away into the loft that have been kicking around for too long, and listing things on ebay. It's easy to put this kind of thing off because they are neither 'urgent' nor 'important', but it can be super satisfying to chip away at a big chunk of that to-do list. I find that dedicating a day to these tasks - so that I have literally no choice but to do them helps me to finally 'get around' to them.
4. CONSIDER CREATING A DAILY TO-DO LIST
I shared how I do this in a blog post about how I stay organised but to summarise: I use my mini-todo list notelets to write myself a daily to-do list, which I simply have to complete by the end of the day. I select a few tasks from my 'main' to-do list which I think I can comfortably achieve in a day. I usually combine a few of those niggling tasks with a few urgent or important ones, and it usually means I get them all done in a day, and am more productive on the whole. Occasionally I am a little over-or under-ambitious with my tasks, but generally I am pretty spot on!
5. CONSIDER A LIST OF 'WEEKLY GOALS'
Something I picked up from one of my creative friends recently was creating a list of goals for the week. I usually add things like 'complete product launch for X' or 'schedule social media up to *date*' but I also tend to add those stupid little tasks that I'm sick of seeing on my to-do list. The added motivation of not wanting to leave a weekly goal un-ticked almost always means I get it done
6. SEPARATE IT INTO A 'BORING' AND 'FUN' LIST
Do all the boring ones first, then reward yourself with the fun ones. Easy.
7. LIST IT IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE
Much like no.6, you get the most important ones out of the way first. Works as long as you can stay disciplined to work in order!
8. RE-WRITE IT ON A FRESH PIECE OF PAPER
Sometimes, when I've ticked off a decent portion of my to-do list I find it hard to really 'see' what I've got left to do. At these times I just copy it out onto a new piece of paper because I'm a bit anal like that.
And on that note (lol) we've reached the end. Hope these tips were helpful and let me know if you have any more in the comments!