4 Tips to Minimise Your To-Do List

Hello, hello, HELLO! It’s 2017! And I’m back!

Friends and lovely readers—I know it’s been a while since I’ve written—but oh my goodness, I have so much I want to tell you! So before I jump into today’s post with tips to minimise your to-do list, I want to give you a little life update.

Looking to minimise your to-do list? Here are 4 tips to help you do LESS this year! (Plus a personal update + my thoughts on slowing down.)

I think the last time I properly told you about my life was in my November Intention Plan* when I mentioned I was going back to the States for most of November on a family visit. I knew I’d be busy visiting family, but I also planned to have a lot of free time to work on my blog, so I made some big plans.

You see … last year (especially June – October) was ALL about making big plans. I’m not sure if it shows, but I started investing more and more of myself into this blog (time, money and energy). I wrote an online course, I posted more and more on social media, I grew my mailing list, I wrote guests posts—I poured my heart and soul into this blog.

Which wasn’t a bad thing—far from it!! It was exciting to try new things, to push myself to grow and (while it was certainly crazy for a few months) it was incredibly rewarding. There’s something so satisfying about creating something out of nothing and I’m so grateful to everyone reading this. This blog and the community we’ve built together brings me so much joy!

But … I’m a firm believer that our lives come in seasons and it’s not about better or worse; instead, it’s about listening to our hearts and recognising when a change is in order.

And that’s what’s happening in my life right now 🙂

It started in November, while in the States. Shortly after arriving, I tossed my big plans out the window. I’m not able to visit very often so I wanted to make the most of my time with my family (plus my mum kept me busy—we went to Florida, New Orleans, and Atlantic City—so much food, haha!).

I had a wonderful visit, but I was sure when I got back to Australia (at the start of December) I’d get back to work. I made long to-do lists on the plane … but as soon as I landed it was like a switch flicked inside of me.

After months of go go go I felt an intense and instinctive urge to just slow down.

So I did. I ignored my to-do list and my inbox. I stayed offline. I took naps. I swam in the afternoon. I started reading. I cuddled with my husband. I called my mum. I took my first yoga class in over a year.

And let me tell you it felt SO good!

In fact, it was a wake-up call. I realised that I needed to re-evaluate and bring my life back into alignment with my values and vision because, somewhere along the line, things had gotten off track.

Mind you, this hasn’t always been easy to do, but I’m working on it—and today I want to share with you a few thoughts and tips that have been on my mind as I’ve been minimising my to-do list. As always, my life is a work in progress, but these are a few things that I’ve learned and I hope they’ll help you as well!

*PS: if you’re looking for my December Intention Plan, there isn’t one. I gave myself permission not to write one and not feel bad about it. While I love sharing personal updates about my life, I don’t like the structure of set monthly plans, so instead keep an eye out for completely random personal updates!

Looking to minimise your to-do list? Here are 4 tips to help you do LESS this year! (Plus a personal update + my thoughts on slowing down.)

ACCEPT YOUR LIMITATIONS

*NEWSFLASH*

You have limited time and energy.

While I know this appears obvious, if you’re anything like me, you might not always be very good at accepting it.

You see, I’m a hopeless optimist. This serves me well in many parts of my life … but with my to-do list? Not so much. I consistently take on more than I can comfortably handle because I’m always genuinely confident I can fit it all in—and those good intentions can lead to real trouble!

The thing is, no matter how much I want to deny it, I have to accept I have limits. Like everyone else, I have 24 hours every day (and if I don’t spend at least 8 of those hours sleeping, I’m not a happy camper!).

And realistically? I’m not (nor do I want to be) some sort of productivity guru. There is only so much I can or want to do each day.

Again, this might sound obvious, but let me tell you that really accepting my limitations was huge; when you realise just how little time you have, you realise that you need to be cutthroat with what you do with it.

FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST

Which brings me to my next point—focus on what matters most! Once you accept you have limited resources, it becomes a question of priorities—how do you want to spend your precious time and energy?

Everyone will have a different answer to this question, but the most important thing is to be as honest with yourself as possible. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in expectations or to get distracted chasing big shiny goals, but if this is where your motivation comes from, it’s easy to burnout.

For example, back in October, I was planning for 2017 and I made some huge, ambitious goals for this blog and my online course sales. They were scary goals, but I’m confident if I made the commitment, I could have achieved them.

But did I want to?

When I stepped back and asked myself, “How much is enough?” I realised I didn’t really want to sacrifice my free time to achieve these goals. Instead, I want something softer and more balanced—a blend of doing work that matters while not sacrificing my values and the things that matter most to me.

I highly encourage you to do the same; to ask yourself, “How much is enough?” and to question if the sacrifices of time and energy you’re making are in line with what matters most in your life.

RELATED POST: 4 Creative Exercises to Inspire Intentional Living

EXPERIMENT WITH LETTING GO

Let me be honest with you—this is where things get tough.

In theory, it’s easy to decide what matters most, but in reality, it’s SO TOUGH to start cutting the fat. I know that often, it can feel like everything matters and there is nothing to let go of.

There’s work, and family, and social commitments, and more work, and homes to care for, and one million other things that need to be done.

But there are still only 24 hours in a day. If you don’t make an intentional decision about what to give up, then the universe will decide for you. It might be your health, or your relationships, or your career—eventually, something has got to give.

Instead of letting life happen to you, I think it’s better to sit in the driver seat and make intentional decisions about how you’re going to spend your time—and I do this by experimenting with letting go.

Trying saying no to something: postpone laundry day, skip a meeting, bow out of a project.

It could be big or small, but give yourself permission not to do something, and see what happens.

RELATED POST: 15 Things to Declutter (That Aren’t Things)

REFLECT + ADJUST COURSE

And then?

Reflect. Did the world end? How do you really feel? Relieved? Guilty? Free? Disappointed?

I’ve learned that sometimes I don’t really realise how important (or unimportant) something is until I walk away. I was supposed to run an online fundraiser way back in October and I’ve been beating myself up about it for months—but guess what?

I didn’t run it and it wasn’t really a big deal. I’ll still do it (maybe) but I’ve learned I won’t regret putting projects on the back burner to snuggle with my husband and watch a movie. Or to watch the sunset. Or to take a walk.

What’s right or wrong will be different for everyone—and of course, the extent to which we can control our schedules varies greatly. Some of us have more flexibility than others but don’t write off the power you have over your own life. Maybe it won’t happen overnight, but I believe that truly committing to minimising my to-do list is one of the most important things I can do for myself this year.

How do you feel about YOUR to-do list? Does it represent your priorities? Or are you struggling to find balance? Let me know in the comments! x

PS: This post doesn’t mean I’m giving up on blogging! Far from it! It just means I’m working to fit it organically into my life. I think you’ll notice my posts are less structured and more from the heart … hopefully! Watch this space 🙂

Author: Jennifer

Hello there! I'm Jennifer and welcome to Simply + Fiercely, a community of people striving to live simpler, more intentional lives. As a former shopaholic and workaholic, I know how it feels to live a life that doesn't feel true to what's in your heart. Fortunately, I've transformed my life and gone from feeling cluttered and confused to living a curated life filled with purpose and joy. Now I'm here to help you do the same. 👉🏻 Click here to get started!