Black and white image of folders on a desk with 5x7 white note cards and post-it notes with writing on them.

Obsessive Thinking – 5 Steps to End ‘To-Do List’ Stress

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As I’ve been taught, Worry is not preparation. When I start obsessing over all the things on my plate, and get anxious about how and when I’m going to get to it all, I think—Have I taken on too much? A friend made an incredibly helpful suggestion. She said, “Don’t ask yourself, do I have too much on my plate? But rather, what’s my relationship to the things on my plate?” Ok fine—it was my therapist. 

The reality is, my responsibilities were very close to getting in the way of my connection to myself and my people. But after taking these five easy steps, I was able to have a much better handle on what was important to keep on my plate, and what I could take off. So of course, I have to share what I did with my Team.


1. Take no action in the obsessive state.

First rule of being in an obsessive state. I made sure to go through the other four steps before making any decisions.

2. Make lists.

I listed all of the projects that need my attention, and what the goal was for each project.

3. Make calls. 

I called supportive friends and had honest conversations about the importance of each responsibility in my life. This was the step that helped determine the things that could be put on the back burner for a while. 

4. Make piles.

I wrote down each responsibility and the final goal on individual 5×7 cards. I clipped that card in the front of any paperwork needed for that project. 

5. Post-It.

It’s best if I tackle things that have the potential to cause me stress in tiny stages. Because of this, I put only the most current steps that have to be taken on top of the piles.


This process completely altered my relationship with the things on my to-do list. Once I had the tasks out of my head and onto paper, the projects went from controlling me, to me controlling the projects. Every day I glance through my piles and read the post-its—I do what I can for the day and then it’s off my mind.

It turns out, if I spend a little more time putting my responsibilities in perspective and less time being haunted by them, I get both more accomplished and gain a great sense of peace. This leaves me extra time to strategize more ways the kids can help around the house—Voila!


And (if you haven’t already)…


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  1. Thanks, Mags. This was helpful for me.
    Peace out, dear you.

    • So happy it helped.
      Thanks Julie~

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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