Big no-no: rolling over yesterday’s to-dos

January 15, 2023

Do you often find yourself rolling over to-dos from day to day?

Here’s the scenario.

You had a plan for what to get done yesterday. You completed some of the tasks on your list, but you didn’t get around to everything. So you rescheduled the remaining tasks to today. Or your to-do app automatically rolled them over for you.

Now your list of tasks today is unreasonably long. It feels overwhelming. You feel like you’re behind.

When this happens, you must intervene immediately. Because who says that the tasks that have been rolling over should be your highest-priority tasks for today? They might be or they might not be. How will you know without looking at all tasks that you could work on?

When today’s to-do list becomes unrealistic, remove all tasks that are not due today from that list. By that I mean: first only leave all tasks with a hard deadline today. Next, head into your task manager’s planning view. For example, in Things that is the Anytime view. In OmniFocus it is the Available perspective. Then, consciously, thoughtfully plan your day from scratch, using the method I teach in my courses.

Of course those to-dos had been piling up on the “today” list because you wanted to get them all done soon. But the reality is that you cannot do everything. You have to choose what to work on and, by extension, what not to work on. It is always like that and it will always be like that.

Acknowledge this reality that your time and energy is limited. Then do the best you can by identifying a mix of important and urgent tasks and get to work on those.

As they say in Turkey (where I am now): iyi şanslar!

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