Paralyzed by a Full To-Do List…


The subject of to-do lists has come up in conversation a few times recently. I am a big fan of them. In fact, I find it kinda difficult to keep track of stuff without them. Over the years I have observed a specific trait in myself, which is a kind of mental paralysis brought on by an overly full to-do list. It doesn’t relate to the complexity of the tasks, just the number of them. Put enough silly little things together and I start to go into meltdown. My current to-do list is getting very full and I’m getting close to critical mass…

The trick for me is to move a few quick things to the top of the list. It sounds dumb and I know it’s not going to affect the total amount of work that needs doing, but there is something so gratifying about ticking items off the list.

I think I can half the number of entries in a couple of days and then maybe I can deal with something that requires more substantial effort.



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

6 thoughts on “Paralyzed by a Full To-Do List…”

  1. +1 for the gratification of ticking stuff off.
    I even find myself adding something I’ve just done onto a list…just so I can tick it off 🙂

    I’ve found that my to-do lists cross over into note taking for the item that I’m to do, so sometimes use mindmap software (eg FreeMind) to keep the root items list small, and then open up branches as I dig into the detail.

  2. Hi.

    Yes. I also find the to-do items getting expanded as I get ideas. Might use the mindmap approach like you do. Thanks for the tip.



  3. I’m a compulsive list-maker too (I have a diary, Google Docs containing to-do lists and a work to-do list (short-term and long-term).

    It helps keep me organised and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I’m able to scratch some tasks off the list, so the idea of moving quick things to the top is a really good one.

  4. Got you all beat … I use a tried and tested to-do list generator – it’s called your better half ;-). Comes with automatic reminders when you miss something on the list :-p

    Seriously I like the FreeMind suggestion… will have to put it on the list to look into.

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