The Source of “Too Much to Do”

apple bins

If I told you to peel all these apples, would it be too much to do?

“Too Much To Do” Is a Concept

It’s a stressful thought I sometimes have as I try to balance all the different things I want to do. But each time I question this thought, I find that there really is not too much to do. And that I’m the one who gets to decide what I’ll do next.

The Source of “Too Much to Do” for Me Is Not Saying No

This seems obvious, but to really see it changes everything. If I say yes to everything, I will quickly have too much to do.

But I really want to do all these things. That is the driver.

This thought can be questioned. I want to do this, is it true? I want to do that, is it true? When I question my wants, I often find that I don’t really want to do some things. And that I’ll be okay if I don’t do other things. This starts to form a natural sense of priorities.

But I have to do some things.

These “have to” thoughts can also be questioned. It’s scary to question everything, but without questioning, I become a slave to both my “have to” list and my “want” list. I stop asking myself what I really want, and my life feels overcrowded and burdensome.

Formal Inquiry Is Helpful

I like to put my to do list on the chopping block sometimes. I question that “I have to” or “I want to” do each item. I’m not trying to be brutal (I find that I like being busy). This is only for the purpose of being more realistic in the limited time I have.

It can be an amazing experience to question my to do list (both today’s list and my long-term future lists).

This Inquiry Becomes Automatic with Practice

I find myself changing the order of my to do list every day as I go through my day. I give myself permission to not do some things on my list, and to be willing to take the consequences of that (people not liking it).

I do this for my own sanity because it’s not possible to do everything anyway, let alone do everything well. So I pick my projects and leave the rest.

And as I keep rearranging my priorities and cutting what I don’t really want or need to do, I get better at saying no to new requests. I find myself looking at my limited time realistically more often now and asking myself, “Do I really want to give up this task in order to take on this new one?”

I no longer believe that “I can do it all.” So I make some decisions and live with them. It feels much better than the juggling act I’ve always tried to do.

Learn how to question anything. Join us for The Work 101 online course.

Have a great week,

“There’s never a task too great or too small, because the only task to accomplish is the one in front of me. It might appear that there are a thousand things to do, but in fact there is never more than one.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy