Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Overwhelmed by my to-do list

I don't mean the 'stuff that I should do today like laundry, shopping, paying bills' list. I mean the enormous, terrifying list of about three years' worth of stuff I need to do with my writing. It's now so huge that I don't even really know how to start. It's so overwhelming that I've been stunned into inaction (which isn't helping!).

I could break it down into smaller chunks, but then it would be even longer and no less terrifying. I know. I tried that.

It's not helped by the fact that some of the list is 'writing' and another fairly large chunk is 'stuff that also needs to be done but which isn't anything like as much fun'.

I'll get through it. Probably. Possibly. I'm hoping that once I leave work purgatory then I will stop ending up so demoralised and exhausted by it that I'm too tired to do the things I want to do (write). I'm hoping that I will be able to spend some of my week doing the more fun stuff (writing) and also devote time to doing the stuff that's less fun (everything else). I do know that I may never get to the end of it all. I won't have written all the books that are in my head right now before new ones pop up in there, clamouring to be written! It will take me at least three years to do what is currently on my list. In that time, another three books could have come along and started getting all demanding on me!

Any advice guys? How can I start to feel on top of a list that will take me several years to clear? And which in many ways never 'ends' because there will always be more things added to it before I've cleared even a fraction of it?



  1. Hmmmm. I'm not sure how to make the current list less scary, but maybe any of those "new" ideas, the ones for books that won't be written for at least three years, could go on a separate "when-I-finish-this" list or a "look-at-this-in-three-years" list?

  2. To combat this issue I have two lists. The things that absolutely must get done in the near future and those things that are 'nice todos'. I find I'm much less overwhelmed if I do that.

    1. My problems is that none of the enormous list are 'nice to dos' - they are all essential! :(

  3. I'm sorry to hear that you feel like this, Amanda.
    Would it be worth having a proper break once you do leave work? Leave your to-do list behind & have some proper down time to recover before looking at this?

    I do think that you will need to break it down or separate it out in some way as the length of time &/or amount to do is overwhelming you. If it was me, I would separate it out in some way in different binders or notebooks, so that I am only focussing on one part & I can't see everything listed all together. Chunk by chunk, & then reward myself for completing stuff. It reminds me of when I'm out running & am struggling, so I just focus on getting to the next street light & nothing else.

  4. Writing is a big thing that I love and never get to on my to do list. :( I wish I had an answer.