Taming the Mile Long To Do List

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It is the end of 2014 and all day I’ve tried to bring things that belong in this year to an end.

One of those things was to write this post. I’ve been around much lately due to my dad’s poor health, but this is my place to share with you and I wanted to be sure to connect at the end of the year and let you know I’m not going anywhere.

Before the holidays began, I had a to do list a mile long.


Note: that’s obviously not it. That’s a to do list from a less crazy time.

I’ve been so busy this month that I don’t really have much of a written to do list. I’ve foolishly been trying to keep it in my head. Ha!

Yesterday I was going over things I had to do, and I realized that in addition to writing them down, I needed to prioritize my tasks.

I had to

  • Set up my new planner and add my appointments to it
  • Visit my dad
  • Pay some bills
  • Make some phone calls
  • Check on some resources for my dad
  • Do laundry

And on and on.

Now you know I really wanted to get my planner out and play with it and feel all together, but that wasn’t the most important thing on that list. So I did the important stuff first and actually felt much better.

As women (or men) with ADHD, we can have a really hard time prioritizing. It’s part of the executive function of the brain; an area that’s responsible for a great deal of our difficulty in dealing with our ADHD.

Sometimes things on our list are easy to spot as being a priority; other times, not so much.

Here are some of the ways that you can evaluate your tasks and prioritize them:

  • Is it important? What would happen if you put it off for a day?
  • Is it overdue? And if so, why are you putting it off?
  • Does it have a deadline or other time frame attached to it?
  • Could someone else do this for you?
  • Is it necessary? Now? Some things can feel urgent but really aren’t, like when someone wants something from you.

If you have all of your tasks written down, choose 2 or 3 that are most important and do those. Don’t try to get too much done in one day or underestimate how long they will take.

If you need to, find a way to code your tasks – especially if you have a lot – so that you can go back later and see what’s important without having to redo your evaluation all over again.

As for my list above, I

  • Paid the bills that were due and visited my dad
  • Asked my dad’s insurance agent to research the resources for me and did it by email, which eliminated those calls
  • Asked my husband to do the laundry

My planner is still on hold.

What’s your number 1 biggest to do on your list right now?

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of Lacyestelle.com and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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