To Do Lists: Too Much of a Good Thing?

I love making lists.  I love to cross completed items off my lists.  I will actually add completed items just so I can cross them off.  However, you can have too much of a good thing, and I may have reached that point with my To Do lists.

I thought I knew where all my To Do lists were, but while putting finishing touches on the basement last weekend, I uncovered four lists that had gotten lost when I moved the home office to the basement.  A list usually reduces my stress level (written down = not forgotten), but finding four extra lists just made me think, “Ugh, more to do that I didn’t have in front of me”.

This made me take a step back and think about how I manage my personal life To Do’s.  Walking through my house today I realized I have 18 To Do lists.  They range in subject matter: home, baby, money, long-term projects,  short-term projects, items just for me, items for J and I, a combination of the above.  Even for someone who loves a good list, 18 To Do lists is too many.

In my work life, I always have four lists.  They are usually under control because there is only one master To Do list and all others are a subset – monthly, weekly, and daily To Do’s.  The master list gets updated as projects progress, so I always know where items stand.  While this might seem cumbersome, it has worked well for me.

I often tell clients to use what works for them; I need to take my own advice.  Why not try to apply my work system to my personal life?  It is time to give my personal life To Do system a little TLC and invest the disciple and time in managing my personal life that I do in managing my work life.

I’m about to add the Little Guy’s To Do’s to the mix, so the timing on adjusting my system might be a little off.  Or maybe the timing is perfect…things are going to get crazy anyway.  Time, and how many To Do lists I have, will tell.

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