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6 Steps To Complete The Tasks On Your Overwhelming To Do List

6 Steps To Complete The Tasks On Your Overwhelming To Do List

You have Post-It notes all over your desktop at work, and scraps of paper beneath magnets covering your fridge. All of these are tasks you have to accomplish within a certain window of time, but you can’t even keep them all straight because you’re so overwhelmed.

It’s simple to keep everything straight so that you look polished and pulled together. Follow these steps to complete tasks on your overwhelming to do list, and you won’t be unprepared or forget another meeting or event.

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1. Keep one list

It’s easy to write down things as you think of them on Post-It notes, the backs of receipts, and any scrap of paper you can find. Having a handful of papers to keep track of is just another task added to your to-do list! Keep everything together on one sheet of paper, either in a work notebook, on a page you keep in your wallet, or in the notes section of your phone. This way you’ll be able to keep track of everything in one place, both what you need to do and what you’ve accomplished.

2. Write down everything you need to do

And I mean every little thing. From putting a letter in the mailbox, to reheating leftovers for dinner, or even cutting your toenails! Writing down every task you need to accomplish ensures that you won’t forget anything. Also, it gives you more opportunities to put a thick red line through something on your list, and who doesn’t get inspired by seeing a lot of marked off tasks? It’ll make you feel like you can finish the rest with no problem.

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3. Prioritize the list

It is especially to prioritize when you’re listing every little thing! The work deadline may be more important than baking cookies for a new neighbor. Write your most pressing tasks at the top of the list, so you’ll see them each time you check. If it helps, categorize tasks into levels of priority. Type A tasks are urgent, like putting the utility bill in the mail or sending back a permission slip with your child. Type B tasks need to be done as soon as possible, but have a little leeway in terms of time. Type C tasks would make your life easier if they get done, like putting those extra clothes in the attic.

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4. Break daunting tasks into manageable pieces

If you have a big project due on Monday, don’t keep writing it on your to-do list and putting it off because it seems too major. Break it into smaller tasks. Looking up topics could be one step, and finding three research sources could be the next. Keep breaking large tasks into manageable bits to ensure you’ll get them all done on time, without stressing yourself out too much.

5. Write down your goals

Your to-do list doesn’t have to be all business! Don’t forget to include what you’ll achieve once you get your list cleared. All those small tasks build up to mean you’ll finish a presentation for work, which might make you eligible for a promotion.

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Your goals don’t have to be serious or job-related. Will finishing all your small tasks mean you have time to watch a movie before bed? Go out to dinner with friends this weekend? Don’t forget the fun things you’ll get to do once you’re not bogged down by what you have to do.

6. Keep it short and simple!

Waking up every morning to a long to-do list is just going to make it harder to get down to business. There’s nothing more disheartening than knowing you’ll never be able to finish everything you’re supposed to. Look over your list and make sure you really need to write that book review today. If you can wait and work on more over the weekend, try and keep your days freer to tackle necessary tasks.

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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