To-Do List Disaster: Handling Life When the To-Do List is Too Long for Comfort

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I love a checklist of things to do. I crush the art of crossing things out and checking them off. I feel a little like superwoman every time I do it. In all honesty, if I’m feeling unmotivated, behind, or even as if my list is too short on any given day, I’ll start throwing extras on there just so I can check them off and feel a little bit more like a badass.

  • Brush my teeth – CHECK
  • Put on pants – CHECK
  • Kiss my husband good morning – CHECK
  • Drive the kids to school – DONE

I have issues, I know.

My to-list is my favorite thing on my desk. It keeps me organized. It keeps me sane. It allows me to sort out the millions of things going on in my brain that my body cannot seem to keep up with otherwise. I need my check list, my agenda, my calendars, and my schedule. The make me happy. Probably happier than things like this should make me, but there’s no shame in my game, friends.

My favorite part of my day comes at 3 pm when I shut down for the day (most days). I turn off my computer and iPad, I close up shop in my home office, and I take out my agenda, calendar, and to-do list. I create my plan for the following day so when I get started at 5 am, my A-game is strong.

Now that I see this in writing, I know I have issues; and I’m probably a bit of a nerd. Oh, well.

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Sometimes, though, my to-do list and calendar get a little bit too crazy. May is one of those months. It’s been crazy. Four weekends in a row out of town living in hotels meant three weekends of packing and unpacking and being off-schedule. The last week of school means too many activities to handle, another trip out-of-state and one weekend at home this month has made me feel a little overwhelmed. My client list is longer than ever – and it’s long in general – and my deadlines are tighter than ever.

The other day I sat down on the floor in my master bedroom and cried my eyes out. Not because I’m upset or unhappy, but because I’m overwhelmed. It’s a good overwhelmed. Health, well, and happiness are abundant in my house, so I’m not complaining. But sometimes I do this thing where I overextend myself and a good cry is what I need.

I felt good when I got it all out, washed my face, and reapplied my makeup (that’ll happen when you catch a glimpse of yourself and your makeup after a good cry). Now I’m back on my A-game, crushing things left and right, and feeling as though I don’t celebrate my successes nearly enough (more on that another day, though). It reminded me that sometimes we all get a little overwhelmed, a little out-of-sorts, and sometimes we just need a gentle reminder from someone who knows all too well how that feels how to get back on track.

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Take A Break

You aren’t getting anything done when you’re all aflutter with stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, so take a break. My go-to is either a trip to the gym, a lunch date with the handsome man I married, or a half hour sitting on my back deck in the hot sun pretending to get a tan and reading a book. I cannot tell you how much more relaxed I feel after I spend a little time doing something for me.

Cry It Out

Y’all, crying is a good thing. What’s that Pinterest saying? Something about how crying helps you see things more clearly or something to that effect. Anyway, it’s true. When I am overwhelmed, I sit down on the floor (because it’s more dramatic and Oscar-worthy) and cry it out. When I’m done, I feel much better. Word of advice – bypass the mirror when you’re done.

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Break Down Your To-Do List

Mine gets crazy sometimes, so I’ll break it down into smaller tasks that are easier to accomplish. The more I check off, the more badass I feel. The more badass I feel, the more I get done. The less time I have to do things when I set a goal, the more I actually get done.

Don’t Stop

I like my schedule. I love it, honestly. I love working for me and only me, creating my own schedule, and really just not answering to anyone else. It’s my jam. I always dreamed of being my own boss so I’d never miss a school performance, a holiday, a moment with the kids, or anything else important in their lives or even my own. But sometimes, I have to make myself work a little harder a little longer.

I might like to end my day at 3 pm so I can get my kids from school and spend the rest of the day doing the mom/wife thing, but it’s not always possible. A few days a month, I find myself back in the office when they’re home and in bed handling a few more things. Sometimes a longer day is necessary, and not stopping is what it takes. I have to remind myself that if I make today long and arduous, tomorrow I’ll thank myself for it – because if there is one sacrifice I am not ever willing to make, it’s spending time on the weekends working in my office. Weekends are for my family, and that’s not something I’m willing to sacrifice.

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Laugh it Out

Truth be told, sometimes I don’t get over it when I cry. Sometimes I don’t get it all done. I know my limits, and I know that I have some amazing people in my life. I make sure there’s always a fun friends event or date night on the calendar every week so I know I have an evening of serious laughter and good times ahead. Even when I’m not in the mood, it’s exactly what I always need to inspire me and motivate me to get back to badass.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed or like your to-do list is too long? Do you let it get to you, or do you handle it like a boss?

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