What should really make your "To Do" list, and what can be left off? Martha Beck suggests evaluating what truly needs to be done, and what definitely doesn't need to be done.
Make a Realistic "To Do" List
Martha believes that our "To Do" lists spiral out of control when we lose focus of what's important to us. It's important to ask yourself, What are my life goals?' Perhaps you want to spend more time with your family, or you'd like to be more creative. Whatever they are, write these down. If an activity on your "To Do" list contributes directly to your goals, keep it! If it doesn't, remember that you are losing pieces of your goal to do other things.
Ask yourself if it's absolutely imperative for you to do certain tasks right away. Can an activity wait until tomorrow, next week or next month? Could you ask somebody for help (or in some instances, show your children how to do things on their own)? Evaluate the importance of each task; you might find that some are not necessary at all.
…And a "To Not Do" List
"I've decided to launch a new plan for life," says Martha Beck. "It's not based on things that I can do, but based on things that I can stop doing." Her "To Not Do" list includes cooking, ironing and keeping live plants.
If you make a "To Not Do" list that takes out the things you don't have to do or love to do, that space is filled by the life you were meant to have. Your schedule may not be less full, but it will be full of things that are enriching you instead of things that were depleting you.
Don't feel bad about not doing everything. Nobody can—or should—do it all.