About Those To-Do’s That Never Get Done: What Those Carryover Tasks Are Trying to Tell You


Let’s talk about your to-do list or rather those things that never seem to make it off your to-do list. If you are a list lover like me, everyday you make up your to-do list and then one by one, cross each item off as you complete it. Whatever doesn’t get done that day simply gets carried over to the next day.

Sometimes you find that you have tasks that no matter how many times you put them on your list, they never seem to get done. Perhaps it’s an email that you haven’t had a chance to respond to, maybe it’s an action item from a meeting that you have yet to get to, or that nagging thing you know you should do but just don’t.

The problem isn’t your habits. No amount of daily doing and mental motivation is going to make it easier for you to do it. There isn’t any advice you can seek out that is going to help you get it done because the problem is that you don’t actually want to do it. Period. End of sentence.

How did it make you feel to admit that? Did you feel a little pang of guilt or a sense of relief? 

Now here’s the simple solution to the problem: DON’T. DO. IT.

Just don’t. Delete that email, hand-off the action item and just forget about the thing you think you should do. You don’t want to do it so unless it’s something that is mandated, like filing your taxes, don’t do it. There is no rule that says you have to do anything (hello, remember the reason we work for ourselves?).

Even in the case of your taxes, there is no rule that says YOU have to do it all of it yourself. Do the very minimum and then hand it off to someone else. If it doesn’t inspire/excite/energize you, stop wasting all that time and energy feeling crappy about the fact that you aren’t doing it and give yourself permission to not do it.

Chances are there is a very good reason WHY you aren’t doing it. That email? Maybe it’s yet another request that you feel obligated to respond to, but that sucks the energy right out of you. The action item? Perhaps you agreed to take it on out of guilt when you really didn’t have the time. The nagging thing? It has sat there day after day, list after list because you don’t really know how to do it.

Once you understand the reason behind the task avoidance, you can change how you do things. For example, change the email that you make available and funnel all that stuff into a hidden directory that you only review now and then. And for goodness sake, get tough with your boundaries and stop accepting tasks out of guilt. And the thing that you don’t really know how to do, find someone who does and hire them and be done with it.

You see, the carryover tasks are little messages telling you the things that drain your energy. Pay attention and if it is something that absolutely, positively has to be done by you (ahem: taxes), do it in a manner that protects your energy. Hire help and pick a day where your hatred of the task won’t spill over into your motivation to get other stuff done (and then just get it over and done with).


About Author

Carla Young, momeomagazine.com Publisher If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. During her early days as a mom entrepreneur, Carla made every single mistake in the book (and a few new ones for good measure). Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. After other mothers started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla launched momeomagazine.com to support moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!

1 Comment

  1. I had a feeling you were going to go there. lol Although it’s rare, if I have something on a list for a few days I’ll sometimes scrap it, mainly for the reason you mentioned, it being something I really don’t want to do. Stuff I’ll leave on the list are things that I know will take a long time to do, probably multiple days, so I break up the time I’ll work on them.

Leave A Reply