Tackling To-Do Lists

There are three types of people, people who make to-do lists and accomplish them, people who make to-do lists and never look at them and people who never make lists. If you have had trouble sleeping lately, it is possible that your to-do list approach may be hindering your sleep. There are several ways you can tackle a to-do list so that you can rest better at night. 

Try Making a List

People that never make lists often have a lot of information swimming in their heads. They have found a way to accomplish day to day activities without writing them down, but it may not be without stress. If it happens regularly that you cannot sleep because tomorrow’s tasks are swimming in your head, consider spending a few minutes making a list before you get into bed. Clearing your mind of the responsibility of remembering all of those details may help you fall asleep faster.


If you make to-do lists, but lose sleep at night because you never seem to get all the items crossed off, there are a few steps to make accomplishing the list easier. First, consider creating a reward system. For every item you accomplish on the list, take a break for a few minutes, get a cup of coffee, chew on a piece of candy, or check a website that you like – whatever it takes to get you to do the list. Just make sure your rewards don’t take over your day.

Too Much

People also often make their list too long, adding to it each day and never feeling a sense of accomplishment. Be realistic about what you can handle in a day and put only  those items on the list. If you get it all done you can always add more. Becky McCray suggests making a list of only the 6 most important things (specific tasks) that need to be accomplished. 6 is a very manageable number. Another suggestion is to tackle the most difficult item on the list first. Then you will not dread it all day and into the night if you manage to continue to avoid it.  While it may feel hard to do that one difficult item first, being nervous about it all day will increase your overall stress level, making sleep difficult.

To get a better night of rest try a new to-do list strategy. If you have never made one, try writing one before you go to bed tonight. If you are overwhelmed with your list everyday, cut back, do just the essentials, and do the tough stuff first. It may take several adjustments to find the strategy that works for you, but sleeping better at night is worth the effort. What is your to-do list strategy?


Photo “40+251 Done” courtesy of bark

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