Stop Hiding from Your To-Do List

Happy 4th of July!

With any luck, you’ve got yourself a cool three-day weekend with some extra time for relaxation!  Maybe you finally plan to do that nagging item that’s been sitting on your to-do list for ages.

We’ve all got at least one thing on our to-do lists (or one scheduled activity on our time maps) that simply never gets done:

What’s holding you back from finally crossing that sticky task off your to-do list?

Problems with Estimating Time

This pain point can cause consistent, aggravating problems, but it’s a quick fix!

If you’re not already doing it, start estimating the amount of time that each activity on your to-do list will require.  You’re setting yourself up for failure if try to pack eight, 30-minute tasks into a block of time that’s only two hours long!

Knowledge is power, folks.  Know how much you’re putting on your plate instead of crossing your fingers, closing your eyes, and hoping you can make it all work.

Once you start estimating your time, it’s just a matter of practice to nail down this skill.

If you consistently find that you’ve overscheduled your day, you’re likely underestimating the time you need for your tasks.  Read some tips on honing your time estimation skills to perfection.

Working Against Your Natural Rhythms

That 30-minute, first-thing-in-the-morning workout is never going to happen if you can’t drag yourself out of bed until 20 minutes before you need to be in the car.

Deep down, you know if you’re not a morning person, a night-owl, someone who’s raring to go right after lunch, etc.  Stop fighting your natural tendencies and start working with them.

Maximize your periods of physical readiness, mental alertness, and desire to get things done by scheduling key activities for those times.  Write an intensive report, go for a run, speed-clean your house, and more.  Use your typical downtime for reading, folding laundry, checking E-mail, and making tomorrow’s to-do list.

Not Knowing Where To Start

That pile of photos seems insurmountable.  Not knowing how to begin to tackle the behemoth, you shove it in the closet and hope that it eventually sorts itself into beautiful albums.

You’re frozen without direction, and you need a plan to get moving.

Write out a step-by-step plan and make the task finite by assigning time estimates for each component.  Now commit to tackling part of Step 1 for a set amount of time each week.

Maybe half an hour each Thursday night will be photo sorting time.  You grab as many photos as you can during that time, throw out the ones obscured by out-of-focus fingers, and sort the remainder by year.

Once you see visible progress on your project, you’ll be motivated to tackle the next step.

Mismatch of Goals & Desires

You and your pal used to play basketball all the time, but you never get around to it these days.  Well, maybe it’s because you don’t really want to!

You might prefer a nice walk over basketball these days.  You could have a recent injury that makes the sport painful instead of fun.  You might be tired of your friend’s taunting, which he only does during basketball.  (You could be tired of your friend in general!)

Whatever your reason, it could be that your old goals and activities no longer match up with what you truly want.

It’s time to update your plan and put it into action.

Your life circumstances change, you change, and your goals should change too.  Don’t beat yourself up for not wanting what you used to crave.  Acknowledge what drives you today and set yourself up for success in those areas!


Looking for more information?  Click here for a step-by-step guide on getting started with time management!

This post was republished by The Huffington Post on July 18, 2016.

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