Slimming Down Your To-do List

When you wake up in the morning, do you already feel like you can’t accomplish everything that needs done? Or do you feel like no matter what you do, your to-do list just gets longer and longer? Well, you’re not alone.

Many people report feeling more busy and overwhelmed with all the tasks they face today than they did in the past. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day; how can we possibly get everything done that we want and need to?

To be honest, sometimes we can’t. However, just because we can’t check off every tiny, little thing on our checklist, that doesn’t mean we are failing. In fact, it can actually be a good thing. It can help you begin to slim down your to-do list and decide what’s really important.


Just like finding balance in anything, we have to prioritize our time and tasks. Consider the average college student. With homework, work, and social life, the student has to decide what is most important to them and then prioritize. It’s the same with the everyday to-do list.

Take a good look at everything that you have written down (or typed or mentally gathered). Start ranking your tasks. What’s the most important and what could be done later? Is it scheduling that meeting with your investors or planning out your marketing strategy for the next year? Could it be vacuuming the living room or finding a good daycare center? Based on each individual’s lifestyle and preferences, that will determine which tasks are most important. There is no one-size-fits-all in this case.

Once everything is ranked, choose the tasks you are going to do today, the ones you will do tomorrow or next week etc., and the ones that you shouldn’t worry about at all.

Delete the Unnecessary

How many times do we add tasks to our checklist that really don’t belong? Too often. Failing to recognize that will only add to our to-do list instead of slimming it down. Hopefully, ranking will help you recognize those unnecessary tasks on your list.

Once you find them, cross them off. For example, if there’s a movie that you really want to see, don’t add that to your to-do list. By all means, plan to go see it but putting it on your to-do list will only make you stress out about it. You’ll feel like you have to see the movie and you probably won’t enjoy it as much. That may be a ridiculous example but you get the picture.

Make sure your to-do list isn’t full of unnecessary or superficial tasks. Rather, keep your list slimmed down to just the essential so you can focus on the tasks that matter most.

Ask for Help

Who said that you have to do everything on your own? You don’t and remembering this is key to slimming down your to-do list. If you are feeling overwhelmed at work with all of your tasks, then ask someone if they can help you out. Or even talk to your manager/boss if you have too much going on. Just remember to return the favor down the road.

Even at home, you can always ask for help. Whether that help comes from a spouse, other family, or a neighbor, it never hurts to ask. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with our to-do list when we feel like we have no one to turn to. While asking for help can be difficult, it will make things a lot easier and less stressful.

Begin Slimming Your To-Do List Today

It doesn’t take too much to begin to feel overwhelmed with tasks. Once your tasks start building up, you’ll feel like you are behind on everything before you know it. Stop that now. By prioritizing, deleting the unnecessary, and asking for help, you can start slimming down your to-do list immediately. Start now by deciding which tasks are the most important for today and make a plan to check them off.

Before you know it, you will have developed a useful habit for keeping your to-do list in check. You won’t feel overwhelmed by your list anymore and will be more effective at getting the most important things done.

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