How to Slash Your "To Do" List

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{If you are overwhelmed every week, keep reading mama.}

If I were to ask you: Do you think all your “to do’s” and events on your calendar are equally important? I’m guessing you would say “No! Of course not!”

But in our daily lives as moms, we often live as though they are. We’ve lost the ability to separate the “good from the best” when it comes to chores, activities and free time.

In the last post, we talked about making strategy sessions for your week and your day.

Before moving on to another topic, I want to spend a little more time talking about how to cut and prioritize our “to do” lists. Before we can even begin to do this, we must make a huge shift in our mindset.

We must reject the idea that everything is important and accept the truth that only a few things truly matter.(Essentialism; Chapter 2, paraphrased).

Have you really, truly in your heart of hearts accepted this truth?

Because if you have & if you can learn to apply it, it will be absolutely LIFE-CHANGING, mamas!


Here are 4 Questions that Will Help You Slash Your ‘To Do’ List:

Take a look at your “to do” list and your calendar & ask these questions.

1. What things in my life are basically a waste of time?

This question isn’t too hard, which is why it’s a good place to start. Think about the things that add little to your life and happiness (i.e. monthly HOA meetings). Consider cutting them without giving it a second thought.

2. Do I really “have to” do this?

All right, so now you’ve cut out the “bottom of the barrel” things, it’s time to go a bit deeper. This next question challenging our assumption that we “have to do _____ (fill in the blank).

Here are some examples of these types of commitments:
-a class your friend signed you up for and you sort of enjoy
– a baby shower your were invited to for a second tier friend
– a family tradition everyone stopped enjoying 10 years ago

These are hard to let go of, but at the end of the day, do you want others to run your life or do you want to make your own choices? Consider starting small– cutting one or two of these obligations and see how it goes. Then try to cut more.

3. If I wasn’t already committed to this activity, would I sign up for it today?

This is a great question to ask yourself. (I paraphrased this question from– you guessed it– Greg McKeown).  Sometimes, we get caught up in a commitment we never intended to make. Asking this question allows us to evaluate the opportunity with fresh eyes. If you wouldn’t sign up for it today, consider trimming it.

4. Out of what remains, which things on my list most closely align with my purpose statement?

I’m not going to lie; this one’s super hard. If you’re like me, what’s left on your “list” right now, are probably all absolute necessities and things you value and enjoy.

But here’s the thing: some of these things are more important than the others, even if it doesn’t seem like they are.

If you don’t have the time to do all the things , you’ve got to cut EVEN FURTHER.

Ouch. It hurts. I know.

This is the ultimate test– the way to separate the “good from the best.”

But if you do this, something strange will happen.

You will realize that you are actually able to give so much more– because your life, your actions and your activities will be focused around things that actually matter to you. 

As Greg McKeown says:

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What a profound concept.


I’ll be the first to admit– I don’t have this one down yet. Figuring out how to make brutal cuts is a process– and like all things, you will get better at it. With practice, you will ask yourself these questions without thinking– even before making new commitments.

It’s certainly not going to be easy. But what could be more worth the effort than meeting your highest potential in this life, mamas?


New to Room for Joy? Don’t forget to subscribe. 🙂 Also, if you missed it, find out why you should be picky with your friends & how you are not that different than a toddler. 😉