Evaluating Your To Do List

I love to do lists. I thrive on to do lists. I have the amazing Listo App that I found out about through Thea over at Time With Thea. I had this ‘To Do List’ Post on my to do list. It’s borderline ridiculous. I think lists are a great tool for organizing for a few reasons.

-To get it out of your head!!! I would lay there for hours at night sometimes thinking about things I have to do, afraid that that I would forget them by the morning. So I started keeping a pad of paper in my nightstand drawer so that I can write things down and not worry about whatever task I just thought up.

-When you can cross something off a list, it can give you a sense of accomplishment. I love watching the dwindling number of items on the list.

-It can motivate you to do more so that you can achieve specific goals. By breaking down bigger projects into more achievable list items, you can complete more individual tasks and that often makes you want to keep going.

However, lists are not always the joyous organizational tool I picture them to be. I have had many a melt down when I realized not everything was going to get done. I have panicked as I ran out of room on the paper because I keep adding things. I have also had too many lists going at once and I get overwhelmed. I could literally make a list of the lists that I have. Here is a general breakdown of my relationship with lists:

to do list

So I decided to re-evaluate how I make my list of tasks. Yesterday I sat down and wrote down everything I wanted to do that day. Then I gave each task a letter based on a great method from the GLORIOUS time management book called ‘Eat That Frog’. I could write a book on this book! It is short, easy to understand, and full of great tips. I will definitely be doing a post on it at some time. Basically, you prioritize your tasks and work on the most important ones first.

Now here’s the new step I added. I estimated how much time each task would take and then added the times up. The total? 12 Hours!!!! Let’s not forget that things like, well, eating were not on my to do list. Neither was taking care of my kids, or driving my 4 year old to and from school, or getting through the constant flow of emails and phone calls I deal with during my day job, or washing the dishes, doing laundry, or a little down time for Pete’s Sake! So I had 12 hours of tasks plus probably 10 hours of daily life. That’s 22 hours of ‘To Do’s with only about 12 hours to do it. That’s the definition of crazy right there. I decided I was no longer allowed to beat myself up for not getting everything done. After all, it was physically impossible to get it all done. And that’s ok! I’m going to use this little trick with my lists from now on. It helped me prioritize, it helped me focus and it helped me realize that I am only human, not a robot.


Ironically, this is a long and rambling post on time management. I have learned a valuable lesson though. I simply CANNOT cram 22 hours worth of tasks into a 12 hour day. So I’m putting the list down for the night and I’m going to have a glass of wine!

Check back in a couple days for the start of the Self Care for September Series!!!! I’m so excited about this month long challenge to create a better self! Make sure you sign up for the newsletter on the Self Care page so you’re sure to get all of the updates and challenges. Please join us!


5 thoughts on “Evaluating Your To Do List

    • Thanks! I have struggled with finding the perfect way to create and follow through with my lists. I think estimating the time per task will help me keep it reasonable!

  1. Hi Erin! I loved your rambling thoughts in this post because you shared your thinking process which is so much about being organized and you provided some really great tips. Accounting for your daily must do tasks like eating and then estimating time to complete the task are brialliant strategies. Thank you also for the mention! Great post! ~Thea

    • Thanks Thea! I’ve never really thought about how long it takes me to do all of the things on my lists. It really helped me put things in perspective!

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