How to handle to-do list with multiple overdue tasks?

Hi guys,

Today I would like to tell you about getting behind. As bad and scary it sounds, unfortunately it is a reality for many of us (if not all of us). Lately, I had fallen behind as well and when I thought I’ve started getting out on straight path with my work, there were so many new tasks coming (what might be a disadvantage of planning ahead), that it was again getting out of my hands. You could also realise that, because since last two weeks one post each week was missing. I was even considering shifting for two posts a week, instead of three, but I have decided that this is not the best solution. Running away from the problem will not really solve it. So even if I had to miss two or three posts, I am back on track (at least I hope so 😉 ).

However, more regular posting doesn’t mean that I made up my other tasks. They are still hanging over my head and waiting to be done. I wanted to show you my planning process in details. I’ve mentioned that I am using Nozbe and a bullet journal, but I have never explained how they are co-working in my case. And this post will appear as soon as I will manage to bring my tasks up to date (especially university-related, as my coming due date will not allow me to attend second dates of assignments and exam). All because I know that explaining this process will take a bit more time.

But coming back to today’s topic, I believe that most of us (if not all) at least once in their life came across the situation, when to-do list seemed not end and looking for a solution for that (which by the way, makes our tasks being left behind for a little more) became some kind of obsession. And guess what? There are tons of advises for people like we are out there! Unfortunately, to read about them is taking unbelievable amount of time (which actually used for working on our tasks would bring us a bit closer to handling this huge list) and not all of these advises are worth it to be read. There are many of them repeating, but being named differently.

So going through these advises and pretty much wasting my time, I came across the only one, which seem really work. And it does require from you just one thing: keep getting your tasks done! There is no magic method to get everything done within one day (especially if you really got behind a lot), but everyday work, where you are getting as much done as you can will make you handle your to-do list (even if it will happen after week or two).

When I have started working this way, I had to carry on around 15 tasks for next day (yes, I got so badly behind) and at the moment I got to the point where just 5 to 8 tasks are being migrated to the next day. To get to this point took me two weeks, where I was checking task after task every single day.

So the best advice I can give you on this topic is to make sure you will prevent this from happening. Make sure that when you see you are starting getting behind, you will take an action right away to prevent it.

But if you are already at the point that even looking at your to-do list cause some headache and you don’t want to even think of sorting this out, I did just one thing which made me getting closer to not-scary-at-all-to-do list.

First of all, don’t really look for a solution, just keep working on your tasks. Start from these, which should be done long time ago and keep handling them (well, if you have something what is very important to be ready soon, and these overdue tasks can wait just a bit longer, you can start from it). For a time being, keep moving less important tasks for a next day (not longer, as you don’t want to move your problem further). For, example, I have my cleaning divided for parts of the home. I usually clean each part every day (like dusting, hoovering, mopping the floor, etc.), plus deep cleaning once a week. However, at the moment I resigned from it. I mean I still clean my home, but I am handling just one part of the home each day (except for the dishes which are being washed every day and toilet, just for the hygiene). Also I used to cook every day, as my goal for this year is to keep eating out to the minimum, but since two weeks I am cooking for at least two days (it takes very similar amount of time, but you have every second day cooking free).

Second thing is to prioritise. If you have tasks with deadline approaching, but nothing really will happen, if you’ll make them later (I have this kind of tasks related to my personal project: I gave them a deadline, but moving this deadline just a bit will not make a lot of harm really), move them for next day. Why it is important to keep moving your tasks just for one day? Before I took this strategy, I kept moving them more, like one week or something close to that. What happened, my to-do list became very light (at least for the next few days), so I just relaxed and slowed down with my work. However, when the week passed, I was in exactly same situation. Having these tasks moved just for a day will keep you remember about them. And what is important, carry on moving your tasks for the next day, just when you are not going to do anything else today. Your goal is to get as much done today as you can, so don’t make your daily list very short.

And what’s very important, is to remember that for these time when you are making up your work, you have to do all your best not to procrastinate. It is very satisfying to check these tasks each day, so try to motivate yourself this way.

And this is all I wanted to share with you in today’s post. I hope you enjoyed it. For now I wish you a very productive day and I’ll see you in my next post.

Daria

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