The Sensible To-Do List: Where Productivity Meets Compassion

When managing a busy life, the common solution is a to-do list. While writing your thoughts on paper helps make your to-do list actionable, the key is to be kind to yourself as you write.

You Are More Important Than Your Task List

When it comes to productivity, there is one thing you can keep in mind: you have the power to manage your life. We’ve compiled some ways to tackle your to-do list with self-love. This process will make you more productive and happier in the process. Sustainable productivity starts with compassion, and here’s how you can do it everyday:

1. Prioritize Your Tasks

After you’ve listed out all the tasks, center yourself by closing your eyes and taking a three deep breaths. Then write the due dates beside each task. During this process, try to be as calm and rational as possible. Remind yourself: Choosing realistic deadlines means you’ll produce better work that you’re proud of.  Once the deadlines are set, chose the top 3 tasks that need to be done and rank them in order. Now tackle them one at a time, starting with the most important.

2. Accept The Work

The one often overlooked yet essential part of productivity is remembering why you want to complete these tasks in the first place. Ask yourself:

  • What do these items mean to me?
  • Why do I care so much about them?

  • How do they fit into the bigger picture?

If any item on the list doesn’t answer these questions - cross the task off.

3. Dive In

If all of the overwhelming thoughts and feelings won’t let up, just start. You’ll feel more productive after working just 20 minutes! Don’t worry about perfection or speed. Instead, be present with what you are working on and focus on the task fully.

Once you get the first task done, it provides momentum for the next one. Celebrate the small wins to give yourself confidence that you can do it.

4. Take Time To Relax

It may sound crazy, but taking time to relax is critical for sustainable productivity. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity, sums it up perfectly. He says, “your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax.” A clear mind is most effective at making good decisions.

5. Thank Yourself

Sometimes we remember to thank everyone except ourselves. It takes bravery, courage, and persistence to do the work now that supports your future self. Take the time to acknowledge and internalize that effort. Say to yourself: I am doing a great job! Don’t let your mind tell you otherwise.