You’ll Never Reach the Bottom of Your Todo List

My grand master todo list probably has 1000 items on it. My projects list probably has 30 items on the go right now. When I setup my daily list I often put 15 items on it. I rarely get to the bottom of this list and I don’t imagine ever getting to the bottom of the 1000 item one. Nor do I care to. I am constantly adding to my todo lists. New ideas, new projects, new reminders. If my objective was to get to the bottom of the list and have everything checked off there’d be an incentive to stop thinking and creating. I don’t want that.

Stop trying to get to the bottom of your todo list and instead see it as a tool to:

1. Do First Things First
It’s not how many items that are on the list, the goal is to give you a picture of your day/week/project so that you can make sure you do the right activities first.

2. Be Your Offline Brain
Instead of trying to keep everything in your head, a todo list is a great tool to free up mental resources.

3. Alleviate Worries by Planning for Risks and Fears
If you find yourself cycling on a particular fear, make a plan and put it on your todo list or at the very least put the worry on your list so you now you won’t forget it. Then when the worry comes up you can remind yourself that you have it captured and you’ll be getting to it.

4. Maintain Rhythm
A todo list is a great place to capture things you want to do everyday or every week. I use my todo list to remind me to stretch everyday and to remind me of new mantras and ways of thinking I want to instil in myself each day.

Instead of measuring your success through the number of items you checked off your list, instead at the end of the day ask yourself how you contributed that day. I find this type of question does a better job of acknowledging and celebrating what is truly valuable and leaves my todo list in its rightful place as a tool not the objective.

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