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Steve Alvest


How to shrink an ever-growing to-do list.

This is a problem I've been wrestling with for years. Maybe brainstorming this list will finally help me solve the problem once and for all.


    1. Schedule all past-due to-dos for a specific day and time in the future

    I've been doing this with some amount of success. I be sure not to schedule more than one past-due to-do for a single day in the future, to make it more likely that I take care of it when the time comes.

    2. Only allow yourself to add a to-do if you first take care of two older to-dos

    I haven't tried this, but it looks good in theory.

    3. Schedule a specific time each day to focus on taking care of to-dos

    30 or 60 minutes a day should be sufficient for putting a dent in that to-do list.

    4. Apply Getting Things Done philosophy to the to-do list

    Spend an hour going through the to-do list one item at a time. If it takes less than 2 minutes to take care of, do it now. For all the others, decide whether you want to schedule it, delegate it to someone else, or trash it.

    5. Take a "vacation" day off work, use it to clear as much as possible from your to-do list

    Sadly, this is a favorite way for Baby Boomers to use their vacation days.

    6. Outsource it all

    If you have too much money and too little time, maybe just pay others to make all your to-dos go away?

    7. 80/20 it

    Go through the list and do the 20% most important to-dos as soon as possible. Discard the other 80% of less important tasks.

    8. Grab your significant other or best friend and tackle the list together

    Sometimes you just can't do it all alone.

    9. Declare to-do list bankruptcy

    Just wipe the slate clean and let things naturally come back onto your to-do list

    10. Rewrite the list on a smaller piece of paper

    The question IS "how to shrink an ever-growing to-do list"!

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