A Fresh Perspective On Your To-Do List

There will come a time when you will feel safe enough to pause, even though your to-do list isn’t finished. I promise, but it does take a little effort on your part in order to break the habit that you need to do it all — today.

Having a to-do list is fabulous. It captures all of the things you’re juggling in the air. But it can also strangle you and hold you captive to a subliminal shame program. “If I don’t get this done I am not good enough”.

How many times have you caught yourself pushing, over-committing yourself and then forcing yourself to achieve?

How many times have placed too many things on your list for the week ahead?

Do you perceive you failed on Friday when even one thing hasn’t been ticked off?

For many of my clients, this conversation pushes all of their buttons and activates their survival program called panic and overwhelm. You see they are overwhelmed by their to-do list, and they feel unable to walk away.

Ask yourself these coaching questions

What would life be like however, if you could envisage a time in the future when you gift yourself permission to slow down, pause, stop and self-soothe?

What could life be like if you could soothe a frayed nervous system often enough?

What might it feel like to be more relaxed?

Might your capacity to focus and remain clear-headed be improved?

Might this clarity enable you to be creative or perhaps more productive?

Might there be fun times to be had?

What might it feel like if you could simply breathe and let go?

Having downtime can be productive — but this is only positive if you’re only viewing your to-do list, not thinking (read overthinking).

If you’re attempting to smash out the entirety of that list, your heart and soul won’t sing. What actually happens is that you get trapped inside your head with all those thoughts. The overwhelm kicks in when you’re unable to tick anything off the list because you can no longer focus.

The issue here is much akin to having fifteen browsers open at once. There’s simply too much to process.

Driving yourself to finish the list will just burn you out — so let me ask you is the price worth it?

What might life be like if that day when you could self-soothe was today? And if you could gift yourself permission to take a break, and restore a sense of internal calm, would you remain focussed?

What might life be like if you knew you could feel good?

What might that look and feel like?

What might you be doing?

How could you approach ticking things off the list differently?

Be patient, your nervous system has been holding onto your old reactive pattern for so long. Like I said before your nervous system isn’t wired to have those mental browsers open at once.

With the influence of social media and technological devices like our mobile phones, you’ve trained your nervous system to seek validation from minuscule snippets of stimulus. Hence you’re subconsciously seeking the next dopamine hit — all the time.

When you apply that same behaviour to your to-list, you instantly experience overwhelm because, unlike the social media newsfeed whereby you can scroll, the to-do list bitch slaps you with tasks all at once.

Be patient, without pausing to identify what has triggered you, you’ve unearthed a need for survival from deep inside your subliminal programming.

Facing your reaction can feel awkward and even downright uncomfortable.

Be patient, you feel uncomfortable because the feelings of your reaction haven’t likely ever seen the light of day. You’ve probably just experienced symptoms like anxiety, but never dealt with why you react in the first place.

When you can take a slow deep breath, and just sit in those feelings, you may realise the discomfort was a misperception. Your survival reaction could simply have been a fear of history repeating itself (from a past unresolved experience) when in actual fact, your brain simply needs to be reminded of the reality that you can only perform one task at a time.

But here’s the thing — you’ve grown and matured since you first developed your survival reaction. This means you now have knowledge and resources to better equip you to navigate your healing.

My wish is for you in learning to soothe away that discomfort so that you can tackle life and feel safe doing it. But also so you can feel-

  • it’s safe to play
  • it’s safe to have fun
  • it’s safe to slow down
  • it’s safe to have needs
  • it’s safe to seek support
  • it’s safe to say no
  • it’s safe to surrender
  • it’s safe to know your best is enough
  • it’s safe to accept that the to-list will never end
  • it’s safe to choose one thing off that to-do list and do that well
  • it’s safe to be imperfect
  • it’s ok to do one thing at a time, (and do that well)


One day, my wish for you is that you begin and continue to nurture yourself. Gift yourself permission to practice the pause. Need some assistance with how to work on one thing at a time and read the best method to focus at work.

Hopefully, with practice and consistency, you will come to accept that you really can choose to change and bloom from within.

First published with Illumination, a Medium Publication. Click here this piece.

Want to read more like this?

This is My Roarsigned copies of my first published book can be purchased from this website.

Practice The Pause  – click here

5 Ways to Boost Self – click here

About Karen

Change Facilitator

Karen Humphries is a Change Facilitator. She is a qualified Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, LEAP & NES Practitioner, Intuitive Meditation Facilitator, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and published author. She is a self-confessed laughaholic.  She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’ 

Karen Humphries, Change Chick, Change Facilitator, Kinesiology, Wellness Coach, Australian Bush Flower Essences, LEAP Facilitator, Trauma, Public Speaker, Cancer Ambassador, Blooming From Within, Traralgon, Victoria, Gippsland