For burned out doctors with very little free time on their hands, a to-do list can feel like a harbinger of doom.
The problem is, there’s too many things we need to do every day, and not enough time in a day to get them done. And yet … we continue to add more chores and must-dos to our lists.
And even though we know better, we beat ourselves up and cause unnecessary stress on our families because we simply can’t complete all the things we feel we must.
It can feel like a never ending, uphill battle. And eventually it can lead to a underlying feeling of frustration and discontent.
If you’re like me, there are days you wish you could toss your to-do list to the trash heap so that you can do things you enjoy. For example, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to eat dinner with your family every night at 6:30pm, instead of staying at the office checking items off your list?
Be honest: How many times last week did you actually leave work early enough to sit down with your family for dinner. Uhm, none? Nada? Zero?
Do you have items on your list that hang over your head like an albatross waiting to land?
When are you going to find time to clean out the garage? Hem those pants? Schedule a date with an acquaintance, when you don’t have time to see the people you really want to see?
I’ve got a novel idea to help fix this problem:
TWEETABLE: “Stop adding items to your to-do list.” @StarlaFitchMD Immediately. I’m serious. Stop it right now.
Aiming for perfection just leads to more tendency for burnout.
Instead, scratch out three items that you know you do not have time for. Then, find someone you can pay or barter with to do them for you. Or just let them go. Do you really need to plan a fancy dinner party when an impromptu pizza party will be even more fun?
By the way, don’t be clever by eliminating things that were never on your list in the first place. For example, saying you are going to stop going to the symphony when you never attend the symphony is cheating. That kind of defeats the purpose.
Pick three activities this week that you can remove from your list forever. Make a vow to yourself and your family that those items are off your list permanently.
Share your glee with the rest of us in the comment section below. Tell us what three items you added to your “Stop-Doing List.”
It’s sort of like losing five pounds. But a lot faster and less painful.