5 concrete steps to tame your to-do list anxiety


p 15 concrete steps to take when youre overwhelmed by your to do list

As of late, not solely is inbox zero an unrealistic objective, however “to-do list zero” appears equally unattainable. Just like the hydra, everytime you kill off one job, seven extra appear to take its place. Simply fascinated about the mountain of labor forward might strike worry into your coronary heart.

In case you are beginning to discover your to-do list overwhelming, there are a number of issues you are able to do to handle your workload.

Table of Contents


Don’t look down

One of many hardest components of getting a protracted to-do list is that it may be arduous to get something finished. You’ll be able to look over your list and really feel like there may be a lot that wants to occur that it isn’t clear the place to begin—and even when you do begin, you received’t make an considerable dent in what wants to get accomplished.

In fact, you possibly can’t get by means of your list when you don’t do something. So, crucial factor is to make progress on one thing that wants to get accomplished. At that second, I draw my inspiration from Wile E. Coyote from the previous Street Runner cartoons. When Wile E. would run off the sting of a cliff, he would all the time proceed out in midair till he regarded down. Then, he would fall. So, I all the time felt like the important thing lesson was at so long as you don’t look down, you possibly can hold operating in unattainable conditions.

So hold getting issues finished, and don’t look down.

Calibrate your effort

If your to-do list is consistently getting longer, it’s potential that you just’re not being environment friendly sufficient to sustain with your duties. As I wrote just lately, it’s necessary to clear up the effort-accuracy tradeoff to just be sure you put in sufficient effort to get the specified high quality of final result on a mission, however not to do considerably greater than a mission requires.

You might have considered trying to take into consideration your effort degree on duties when you’re feeling approach behind on what wants to be achieved. It’s potential that there are issues you have got been requested to do that would have been finished extra shortly and with much less polish and nonetheless have been acceptable. You must also get suggestions from your supervisor to discover out whether or not there are some issues you have got produced the place it may be nice to spend rather less time in service of ending extra of what’s on your agenda.

Arrange your list

I’ve additionally written earlier than about organizing your to-do list, each by your estimate of the period of time that it’s going to take to full a job, in addition to whether or not the work itself requires your finest self or not. That approach, you possibly can shortly discover duties to carry out that match the time block you have got, in addition to your psychological vitality.


With out this degree of group, you might spend loads of time simply taking a look at your agenda determining what you ought to do subsequent—time that will be higher spent truly doing the subsequent factor.

Hand issues off

Should you’re falling deeply behind, then it’s time to discover different methods to shorten your list. Are there some duties which you could hand off to colleagues? One factor that occurs as you progress into positions with extra duty is that you just typically hold doing issues that had been a part of your duty within the earlier function. It would simply be out of drive of behavior, or it may be that you just really feel you are able to do it higher than different folks.

However you have got to give different folks the prospect to study new duties. In reality, a part of your function as you progress up is to guarantee that new persons are educated to do stuff you already can do nicely. Plus, your new duties ought to take priority over that solely used to be a part of your job. So, take the time to undergo your list and provides away duties that in all probability shouldn’t be on your list.

Ask for assist

Lastly, when you discover that you just’re nonetheless given greater than you possibly can deal with, it’s time to discuss with your supervisor about your workload. When folks offer you issues to do, they might not be conscious of all the pieces else on your list. In that case, you might want to allow them to know that you just’re overwhelmed and get their assist to clear up the issue.

One chance is that they will train you extra environment friendly methods to full what you’re engaged on. It’s potential, although, that they’ll notice that you just actually are being given an excessive amount of to do, and that there are duties you have got been given that may be assigned to another person as a substitute. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your self.