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Prioritizing Life In Spite of Never-Ending To-do Lists


I don’t know about you, but I have the tendency to make long to-do lists.  While sometimes they can be helpful and help in my productivity for the day (especially as a recent graduate) many of the times they are impossible to complete in one day leaving me only to feel intimidated.  Having these long lists leave me feeling indecisive as to what to attack and when to attack thus leading me to be LESS productive than I may have been.  Besides this, having these long to-do lists oftentimes leads me to forget about my top priority, which is my health, as my drive to complete tasks becomes greater than taking care of myself.  So with this blog, I want to talk about the ways in which I have been able to become more productive and to prioritize my health from day to day.

We are often told that the best ways in which to stay productive is by making to-do lists of what needs to be completed each day.  While it does help productivity, for the most part, for some of us, it becomes intimidating and stressful, causing us to be less productive.  While it may be frustrating seeing to-do lists contributing to others’ productivity soaring while ours seems to get stuck, there are ways in which to BETTER our to-do list production so that we may too soar.

Ways to Become More Productive For Those Who May Not Fare Well with To-do Lists

  1. Make shorter lists.
    • Many of the times we make long lists which leave too many questions as to what to start with first and when to start the next task.  We underestimate the time necessary to utilize such tasks, and oftentimes feel like a failure when we are unable to complete a list in its entirety.  Oftentimes, this feeling of failure everyday as we are unable to complete the tasks for the day gets to us, and makes us procrastinate, as why we even bother to start if we are just going to fail?
  2. Write down all of the tasks and create options that enable flexibility
    • One thing that has helped me is to make a list of all the tasks that I need to get done each day and to figure out ways in which to multi-task.  Knowing that my days don’t usually go as expected, I try and better utilize my time given this unpredictability.  I figure out what I can multi-task and often leave xx or xyz to do when I am making phone calls.  I also try and figure out what task I can complete when I have 5 minutes as opposed to 20 minutes, and just take it from there.
  3. Detail each to-do Bullet Point
    • Rather than having a list that lacks detail, I find it more useful to break down each task, as it makes me feel more accomplished upon completing.  Breaking it down into smaller steps makes it less intimidating so that I can complete the one task.
    • For example, rather than just writing job on my to-do list, I would write look for jobs on, apply to two jobs, etc.  I also break down doing my wash into washer, dryer, fold, as I am able to see everything getting done bit by bit, rather than nothing at all.  Sounds silly, but this does help.
  4. Pick only one-two difficult tasks at a time that NEED to get DONE that Day
    • One of the things that I had continuously find myself doing is putting ten difficult tasks at a time on a list for the day, when in all reality, it would take a day or even longer to accomplish each one (AKA job hunting and saving the world from the battles I’ve faced).
  5. Give yourself a Break and Stop Focusing on Immediate Gratification
    • Sometimes our high expectations of ourselves and of the time in which we expect ourselves to accomplish tasks gets in the way.  This need for immediate gratification oftentimes makes a task too foreboding to even attack.
    • So sometimes you just need to take a step back and recognize the things that you are doing rather than the things you may not doing.  You may need to realize that everything will take time, and that you are never going to be perfect in the way in which you accomplish things.

So at this point, I could go on and on about ways in which to increase your productivity levels, but I’m not going to, as there is one more thing I needed to talk about.  And that is the fact that you must always pay attention to your own needs and health in respect to the to-do lists which you make.  Too many times, we stay so focused on others and what we need to accomplish that our own health is compromised.  We stress out based on the number or difficulty of each task we must do, and oftentimes leave ourselves getting ragged and sick.  And when that happens, some of us continue to go, without taking care of ourselves.  By doing so, we not only neglect ourselves, but oftentimes leave our condition to worsen.  The tasks get harder to complete, and we not only get more sick, but also more frustrated as well by our lack of progress.

     My point is that we have two options at tackling our to-do lists; to prioritize our health so that we may complete the tasks at a later date or to prioritize the tasks further compromising our health, and that the first option is best.  I mean, what is life without your health?

Love Always,




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