Prioritise Your Daily Tasks and Reduce Stress

Prioritise Your Daily TasksI have a confession. There are certain times when I am totally unorganised. I try to blame it on the moon cycle but to be honest, it’s all on me! At the moment, I’m trying to work on four projects at the same time, and instead of being productive, I’m procrastinating because I’m overwhelmed. Deep down I know that I’m creating a false stress because if I just got on with it, then I would be able to enjoy the creative rewards of achieving these tasks.
The ever increasing to-do list on my desk taunts me daily. I sit at my computer and work through it, but at the end of every day I still haven’t finished, and I end up adding to tomorrow’s list.
I’m stressing about it! It’s causing me to have sweaty palms and to dread opening my office door. I’m losing sleep over it, going off my food – oh, okay so I’m not that bad, but it is causing me unnecessary angst, and there is a very simple solution to reduce this stress.
I need to choose one project and make it a number one priority and then when it’s finished I can move onto the next one.

  • Over to you:

Do you push your most dreaded tasks to the bottom of your to-do list? Putting the gruesome jobs to the back of your mind (and must-do list) causes tension to rise, blood pressure to spike, and all the physical issues associated with stress to tumble forward. In the deep recesses of your mind, you know the tasks are still there, lurking like Gollum in a dark cave.
How do you think you’ll feel when it’s completed? When I’ve finished my work, I know I’ll feel elated, relaxed, and able to enjoy my creative time without the guilt of undone chores hanging over me.
So, today, I am challenging you to complete one task that you keep shoving to the bottom of your to-do list. Approach it with one hundred percent commitment, and if you manage to achieve it today, I want you to reward yourself.
The rest of your to-do list will still be there in the morning!
What can you prioritise to free yourself from stress? Is there something on your to-do list that once complete will make everything else easier? I’d love to hear from you so feel free to share your stories and tips in the comments.

24 comments

  1. i am a stickler for lists.. and being a Virgo i really have to finish them or else I get frustrated with what I haven’t done… However my book that needs to get written.. that is something I keep pushing to the bottom of my list! Maybe today I should re read what I have written and start re-planning the rest!!!

    1. Now that’s a great plan! Re-read and then decide on one action point to do straight away – whether that’s to write the next scene, plot out a specific twist, or research a case study. Do just one thing to move forward and it will break the cycle of procrastination x good luck x

      1. Thanks Shelley! Gary Jefferies gave me a real kick up the backside after reading the chapters that I put on the blog! I really need to get back into it!

  2. EEEK this is so true, Shellster. I put off those things that I don’t want to do until the last minute. Trouble is, more and more things are becoming ‘last minute’! Need to prioritize. …….finds another blog to read….and another….

  3. Hi Shelley. Many of us share your problem. I don’t think there is a ‘one answer suits all’. Shame. I am one who hates loose ends, and by that I mean that I find it very hard to move to a project WITHOUT completing the current task. As you know, some tasks are hard to rejoin after even the smallest interval.
    But, the big problem occurs when we can’t jeopardise a 300-page edit for the sake of a 500-word competition entry. We must create our own priorities, put in extra hours, or both. I think we must accept that our working day/week will be somewhat schizophrenic. I see that I’m offering no help here. I am a battler. I win my battles by setting completion dates for each task. Some might be left until the last minute. But none is ever passed over.
    Now, back to my editing that I’ve just interrupted . . .

    1. I love that line ‘somewhat schizophrenic’ as that sums up so much of life in general! I think you’re an inspiration to stick fastidiously to one topic. I believe my Gemini brain might have something to do with my problem!! 😉

  4. I’m definitely a procrastinator, but I’ll always do the things that mean letting other people down if they don’t get done. This means that I have a reputation for being organised… which means I get asked to do more things.
    SInce I went on a ‘Getting things Done’ course I haven’t worried too much about prioritising tasks, unless there’s a deadline. On the other hand, I do find that the list of Next Actions I have as a result is rather overwhelming.
    Just in case anyone was wondering, being retired doesn’t help. The to do list just gets longer.

      1. It was very interesting, but also a bit depressing. I still haven’t put it all into practice.
        One of the exercises you do is to write down everything that’s in your head. The David Allen quote which I can always remember is “The brain is for having ideas, not for holding them”. So you get your thoughts onto a bit of paper and that becomes a discipline in itself. Then you work out what the next action is to finish that task. The action, as the word implies, has to have a verb and it has to give you enough information so that you will know without having to think too much what it is you have to do. For example, not “Call Frank”, but “Call Frank to invite him for dinner”.
        The idea is that, once you have all these distracting thoughts, which you’re worried about forgetting, out of your head, you’ve got more room for the creative thoughts you really want to be having.
        If you haven’t already read it, the ‘Getting Things Done’ book by David Allen is worth a read.

  5. Right. Fine! I shall complete one task that’s been on my to do list for donkeys. Can I do it tomorrow though ha? It’s true though. I always do the easy stuff first. Feel exhausted just by that & leave the more tricky stuff forever on my list. I’ll get it done for you Shelley!

  6. Serendipity in action! I started list scheduling three weeks ago to stop me drifting and just adding more and more too a to do list until it overwhelmed and nothing got done or finished. I should know better, but once a habit forms its a proper pain to kick it. Lists are the starter. Realistic and achievable. My therapist said if something overruns and a task gets missed then accept it and move on; Take a day where the list is just a catch up one for anything that didn’t get finished and, more importantly make sure there are things on it that are for me; Balance being the key apparently! Week four starts tomorrow !!

      1. I have advice in bucket loads…its taking heed that’s my trouble!!! I did an 8 week mindfulness course, six on some telephone therapy thing followed by 8 of CBT. I must know enough about it by now lol

  7. Totally true, missus. I have been meaning to reply to my wedding stationer for about 3 weeks with the layout for the invitation. Every day it is still on my To Do list. I promise by Tue latest it shall be done! x (PS My To-Do list is like yours!!)

  8. This is me to a tea. I’m such a procrastinator and everything gets left to the last minute. I try to get ahead then ‘life’ interrupts and I fall right behind. I’m terrible for having too many tasks in the go at once and end up getting nothing done

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