You probably automatically peeked at your to-do list when you read this blog’s title. And now you’re hyperventilating a little bit at the sight of how much there is still to do today and the rest of the week or month.
If this rings true, then the following message is for you.
Step. Away. From. The. To-Do. List.
The constant ping of reminders on your phone or a paper list stuck to your fridge or desk calendar is a source of stress. Sure, you’ll feel temporary elation at ticking off some of the items, but at what cost to your mental and even physical health?
No one is debating that ‘the work must get done’ but putting undue pressure on yourself to get tasks done within an impossible time frame is unnecessary, not to mention detrimental to your frame of mind. Too much work stress inevitably spills over to your personal life and before you know it, your work/life balance has flown out the window.
And furthermore, constantly staring at the items on your list will not only make you procrastinate to the point where you don’t know when or where to start digging in anymore, but it will keep you from experiencing life! Do you really want to be stuck working on your to-do list while your child is performing in a school play? Do you want to be ticking off tasks while your family is on holiday, without you? The list (pun intended) goes on.
It all comes back to a healthy work/life balance and leaving work behind when you shut the office door behind you. If your to-do list truly bugs you, then get started on the biggest tasks first thing in the morning. Once that is done, take a break. Go for a walk or make some coffee. Then get started on the second biggest task and so on and so forth. Before you know it, your list will be smaller than it’s ever been.
If you’re a perfectionist, you’re going to have to let it go (sing the song if you must!). When the job is done, it’s done. Just because it’s not up your way-too-high standards, doesn’t mean it’s half-done.
When you get home at night, switch off completely from anything work-related. Don’t check work emails and don’t be tempted into making business phone calls after hours. Instead, spend time with your family, get back into that hobby you’ve been neglecting or take the dog for a walk.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself! When it comes to life and work and balancing it all, your health must be at the top of the list too. Exercising and eating right goes a long way in feeling better and living healthier.
You’re still glancing at your list, aren’t you? That’s okay. You don’t have to force yourself to make drastic changes overnight. Start small. Take one extra break for the first week and then add another the following week. Spread your one-day list over two days. Limit time spent on non-work-related social media browsing and emails and see your procrastination turn into efficiency.
Once you start taking regular breaks from your list, you will be amazed at how much you will actually get done.