What to Do About The Thing That Never Leaves Your To Do List

We all have them. Those items on our to do lists that never seem to get done. Each day or each week we transfer the undone items from our last list onto our new list and we write the same old things.

These items must have been written a million times because they stay on every list. Somehow other things make it off our list but these things never do.

Now, what’s the point of a to do list if there are things on it that never get done. Every once in a while we have to really look at these items that refuse to leave our list and decide what to do about it.

There are things on every to do list that never seem to get crossed out. Find out why and what to do about it.

Remember the Why

The first step is to re-assess the item. Why was it on the list in the first place? Was it a spontaneous idea you had one day that you just threw on the list? Was it part of a bigger project?

Our to do list is prime real estate. It is the place reserved for the few things we will actually do out of the millions of possibilities. So how did this item make it onto the list in the first place?

We need to remember why something is on the list in order to figure out what to do with it.

For example, I have had creating a marriage podcast with my hubby on my to do list for a while. At first we had to order microphones, but we’ve had those for a couple of weeks now, so it’s time to remember the why.

We wanted to create this podcast because we know that marriage can be hard. Having a relationship with someone doesn’t magically become easier because you had a wedding. We have learned a lot over the years and we are still learning.

We thought we had information to share that would be helpful for others and we want to share it.


Now that you know why the item was on your list in the first place, is that reason still important to you? Things change. Projects develop. What was once a priority may no longer be one.

Really think about whether or not this thing actually needs to get done. If your to do was something in preparation for Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving passed, it’s safe to say it may no longer need to be on your list.

So when you re-assess, decide if this is something to keep on your list or just take off completely and move on.

In the case of our marriage podcast, we still really want to do it, so it is staying on the list.

Make it Happen

Now that you know that this thing is still important to you and needs to get done, the next question is why haven’t you done it yet?

Is it hard? Is it time consuming? Does it require a lot of focus which you can’t do with the kids around?

If it is something that you are not well suited for, can someone else do it? If it requires focus ask someone to watch the kids so you can focus on getting it done.

If it is something hard that you dread so you keep putting it off, plan to do it the first thing in the morning the next day. Don’t give yourself permission to put it off. Put it on the calendar and get it done.

In our case, we keep assuming that we can record whenever we are together. Were home most evenings and some weekends so we just assume it will get done. But when we are together we let other things get done first. Like watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which is amazing by the way).

The new plan is to schedule a time in the evening when we will record no matter what. It is scheduled time and we have made a commitment to ourselves to do it.

When something is important, we need to create circumstances to ensure that it gets done. If it is not important, then just take it off the list so we don’t waste brain power thinking about this long list of things to do and actually get the important things done.

What’s something on your to do list that you have been putting off? Let me know in the comments.