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What to do when your to-do list is too long

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You know the feeling? You don’t know what to do when your to-do list is too long. We all have times like that and sometimes it is a mental list rather than having the list written down that seems to difficult to keep up with. Change that! But first, remember it is okay to have a mental list if you don’t have the nagging feeling you have forgotten something. Otherwise, a written one on paper such as in a Bullet Journal or typed up one in Trello, for example, is the way to go. Now we will get into what to do with that “long one”!  This is working towards productivity!

What to do with Guilt when your to-do list is too long

Yes, you may not have realized this but guilt often is within your thoughts. The wishing you could get to all the never-ending things you need to or could do. That inner voice at the back of your mind stacking up more and more “to do’s”. This is the perfectionistic brain at work.  Stop right there! Don’t let the pressure build.

Over the years I have been a highly productive person. I have never thought so – since there has always been so much I could do. Imagine that! How I found out that I was so productive but which was slow to seep into my “full” brain was this. When I related what I had achieved to others, both verbally or in writing when asked.

Consider putting in writing your accomplishments and what you have achieved. Do not think upon what you have not achieved. (unless you put them down on “that” list.)  I have a Home & Business Promotion Group which has a Friday set theme day where you set down what you have achieved for that week. Find a way to do this – doing it daily is even better. This will help let go of your Guilt! Remember you are an achiever. 

Remember also:

  • There are things you have to do
  • There are things it would be nice to do
  • There are things you will not be able to do and you will have to let go.

Don’t let guilt hold you back – even achieving 3 small things in a day is a success. Don’t forget to tell yourself that since some days are going to be slow days and other days are for holiday and rest days.

You have a Love/hate relationship with doing things.

You find consistency is an issue. You have a spur on sometimes and go into a can’t do anything at other times (or at least it seems that way).

Your issue may be burn-out. You may have been doing “things” for so long that you have, it seems – been dictated to by your far “too long to do list”.

Scroll down to the bottom of my post Love/hate relationship with organizing and you will find some good tips to make you do an assessment about where you are at. Such things as

  • Having a day off
  • Re-evaluating your standards – sometimes you can let go
  • Find ways to work smarter rather than harder – particularly as you get older.
Woman's eye words on brick wall
Look at how you have been handling your “to do’s” You need a different positive way of thinking about it. Photo credit Pixabay

Assess the direction of your “too long” to do list

Really have a good look at your list. What is the direction of what items you have there? What is the motivation for what you do?

If you are not really clear or think you need a change of direction – consider chatting it over with someone. Someone who you respect or who is well-versed in pointing out things you may not see. For example – is it to fill a need? Is it to meet other’s expectations? Have you spent too long in one direction with no challenge or reward?


I know the feeling of a too long to do list or even the never-ending and often added to list. I am and have been a chronic list maker. But there have been good times – since I have included family times and self-care amongst the many things “to do” Consider your list a success if it has a priority to a life that is full and generous. Helpful not only to yourself but to those who you build relationships with and have relationships with. Remember wherever you find yourself in life – do those things before you with all your heart (Colossians 3:23) and include gratitude in your life.

Until later!


  • Make tomorrow more amazing than today!
  • Just believe in yourself and dream big.
  • Do not give up on your hopes. Take care always.


I, Esme Slabbert, am the author and creator of this site, EsmeSalon. It is unlawful to re-use any content from this blog, without my written permission. Please contact me should you wish to discuss it further.


My goal is to provide the best homemade recipes that are healthy for all families to enjoy. I also endeavor to showcase and share other bloggers and promote them on my Blog. You will also find Resources and Courses and Services for Bloggers which I promote from time to time.