July 5, 2021

Why You Should Throw Away Your To Do List

I am a list addict. If I had a personal catchprahse, it should be ‘Me Love Lists’.

However, however. It has dawned on me that lists, as with everything in life, can become sticks with which we beat ourselves up. And the reason is this – the list can never end. Because that is the nature of adult life.

There is always something to do. Forever. And ever.

Our brains find this stressful so they try to find ways to get rid of this uncertainty, by making lists. And then the master list begets baby lists, which live on phones, on the fridge, in fancy apps, in expensive leatherbound diaries, and. on post it notes like an infestation of obligations.

We need to throw these lists away and start again, in one place only. For me it’s always going to be pen and paper in a moleskin notebook. And then we need to do two things.

  • Make a list of what you need to do this week. And then SCHEDULE it in. I use the calendar app on my phone. Don’t leave the task languishing on your to do list glaring at you malovently. Either make time to do it, or get rid of it. Do this at the start of your week. By all means have things on their that need your consideration now for the future, but don’t make you to-do list a to-catastrophise and to-worry-about list.

  • Accept that you will never do everything. Let some things go. There will always be something to fix in the house, someone to see, a piece of work to do, a run to go on. Either do it or do not do it. There is no try. Yoda totally threw away his to do list but George Lucas cut that bit out from the final edit. Fact.

Now, go find every list you have, make a new master one and have a ritual burning of the rest. You can’t do it all. That’s ok.