View Full Version : "To Do" Lists are Hard!


Fraser_0762
02-09-17, 07:50 PM
Ok, so i'm not sure if others have the same issue, or if this is just exclusive to myself. But whenever I attempt a "to do" list for the next day, I end up going overboard and adding far too many steps to the list. But at the same time, I feel like I need to add every last bit of detail to the list, otherwise I will end up forgetting to do certain things, unless it's actually on the list. But then, by making the list so stupendously large, I get overwhelmed just looking at it. :doh:

Does anybody have any tips on how to shorten down "to do" lists, while maintaining a degree of detail at the same time? :confused:

I know that's probably not the easiest question to address, but perhaps there are skills or techniques that i'm currently unaware of that could help with this issue.

Thanks. :)

Fuzzy12
02-09-17, 08:13 PM
Could you have two sections or two lists?

Section 1 contains all the tasks that need to be done irrespective of their deadlines or due date

Section 2 contains only tasks that need to be done TODAY.

Fraser_0762
02-09-17, 08:19 PM
That's a good idea.... but the list i'm doing is merely for tomorrow and no other day. :)

Fraser_0762
02-09-17, 08:20 PM
Or "today" I should say. As it's now 00:20 and there is NO tomorrow!

Fraser_0762
02-09-17, 08:24 PM
Ok, so this is my morning list for tomorrehhh today....

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/02/17
A.D.D Schedule Routine Tracker (Avoid laptop and TV until list is complete!)
1) Get out of bed (8:30am) [ ]
2) Go into kitchen and have strong coffee with healthy cerial and toast (no TV or Laptop!) (8:30am - 9:00am) [ ]
2) Make the bed (9:00am - 9:15am) [ ]
3) Open bedroom window (9:15am) [ ]
4) Put dirty clothes in bedroom and in cupboard in washing basket in livingroom (9:15am - 9:30am) [ ]
5) Take clean clothes to wear out of cupboard and place in bedroom (9:30am - 9:35am) [ ]
6) Make sure there is a clean towel in bathroom, then take a shower. Remember to use t-gel shampoo and body wash. (9:35am - 9:50am) [ ]
7) Brush teeth as soon as you are out of the shower (9:50am - 9:55am) [ ]
8) Take deodrant and aftershave into room (9:55am) [ ]
9) Dry off in room, apply deodrant and aftershave then put on clothes (remember all shirt buttons and fly! (-:) (9:55am - 10:10am) [ ]
10) Wash, dry and put away any dirty dishes in the kitchen (10:10am - 10:25am) [ ]
11) Put on a wash (lights or darks, whatever there is more of) remember to A.D.D washing up powder to machine! (10:25am - 10:35am) [ ]
12) Dust down livingroom furniture (10:35am - 10:55am) [ ]
13) Hoover livingroom carpet (10:55am - 11:10am) [ ]
14) Sweep kitchen, hall and bedroom floor (11:10am - 11:30am) [ ]
15) Make another strong coffee (you'll need it by now!) (11:30am - 11:50am) [ ]
16) Remove wash from the machine and hang on clothes horses (11:50am - 12:15pm) [ ]
17) Put rubbish bags down the slide (12:15pm - 12:20pm) [ ]
18) Other bits and pieces (12:20pm - 12:30pm) [ ]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18 things in 4 hours shouldn't be too difficult, as most of them are just tiny little things... which I will hopefully not be daft enough to overlook!

Little Missy
02-09-17, 09:57 PM
That is such a daunting list...:eek:

Fraser_0762
02-10-17, 08:21 AM
That is such a daunting list...:eek:

Yep.... ended up laying in bed for 4 hours instead. :doh:

stef
02-10-17, 10:18 AM
ahhhhh!
wow that's so detailed
what has worked best for me (after YEARS of trial and error), is write as simply as possible, on one sheet of paper, in felt tip marker

leave room between the tasks, and if you need to add details, make a seperate l list just for that item; or write details in finer pen or penxil
i dont write times it freaks me out but thats actually a good idea!)

so it would look like:

Get up

have strong coffee with healthy breakfast

make bed

Fraser_0762
02-10-17, 10:22 AM
It's 14:20 and I still haven't made my bed, or even opened the window yet...... I did manage to make breakfast around 1 though! :yes:

(Curse you TV and laptop!)

Fuzzy12
02-10-17, 10:37 AM
I put down neither time nor order so ive got some flexibility to do the task that most appeals at that time.

Also I tell myself that I only need to do a specific number i
Of tasks so I don't get overwhelmed.

Fraser_0762
02-10-17, 11:04 AM
Yeah, but I think I do better with structure than without. When I get into the mentally of "doing what I want, when I want", nothing gets done.

dvdnvwls
02-10-17, 01:29 PM
Habits don't belong on the list. It seems like a good idea at first, but it doesn't work.

dvdnvwls
02-10-17, 01:58 PM
I should have been more specific.

Habits like getting out of bed and opening the window and brushing your teeth, things that are the same every day or the same for a considerable period of time, don't belong on the same list as real to-dos like "take my friend to the airport" or "work on college project due in a week".

Fraser_0762
02-10-17, 02:12 PM
It's a fair point. I'm going to create 2 lists. A timeless list of things that I need to burn into my subconcious mind and another list for "must do's" for each day as they come.

20thcenturyfox
02-10-17, 04:00 PM
It's a fair point. I'm going to create 2 lists. A timeless list of things that I need to burn into my subconcious mind and another list for "must do's" for each day as they come.

I was going to say..."Dude, listen to Fuzz" You always need 2 lists (or better still, Part A and Part B)

Part A is your top priorities and scheduled appointments for the day. On a bad day, for me, that might be only 1 or 2 things. You might be able to deal with 5 or 6. I don't say this to be insulting. Start with a few. When you finish those, you should probably take a break and reward yourself, but you can always go back for more. What you don't need is more failure.

Part B is your Master (or Running) To-Do List, also known as a "Brain Dump." This is where you put everything that comes into your mind and vexes, distracts, or tempts you away from your top priorities. "I must remember to do this, I mustn't forget to do that." Unless they must go on your "Today" list, put them on the Brain Dump and forget about them until tomorrow.

BTW this "B" list is bound to be overwhelming, even chaotic, especially at first. Keep it with you but out of sight. Do not look at it except to add new items as you think of them or when choosing your top priorities for another day. Also don't spend too much time over-organizing it. You may eventually add tags for priorities, dates, contexts, whatever, but the main purpose of the Brain Dump is to collect in one place all the things you want to remember to do sometime. Once it's down in rough form, you can relax and get back to your main priorities. I predict this will be a major load off your feeble ADHD working memory.

20thcenturyfox
02-10-17, 06:57 PM
I should have been more specific.

Habits like getting out of bed and opening the window and brushing your teeth, things that are the same every day or the same for a considerable period of time, don't belong on the same list as real to-dos like "take my friend to the airport" or "work on college project due in a week".

For those fortunate enough to be able to form habits and remember routines, it may be fair to say these don't belong on a To-Do list.

However I recall seeing that one of the cognitive deficits (probably in one of those dopamine circuits) listed for ADHD is the poor ability to form habits and remember routines. And these are important for freeing up working memory, which is also typically impaired in ADHD.

So if you don't form habits and routines easily, and also have limited working memory, no wonder you struggle with to-do lists, and just generally getting through the day! Boing, boing, boing! Every minor preparatory sub-task is right up there with your most important priority, competing for RAM. If your subconscious or muscle memory is slow to absorb these important time-saving stress-saving routines, getting them on some kind of list or visual aid is an important compensatory skill.

Maybe these have to be more specialized context-based flags or lists that you post where you need to initiate or carry out the routine: on the bathroom wall to remind you what you have to do morning and evening, in the kitchen to nudge you toward a healthy breakfast, by the computer to remind you to balance you chequebook and pay your bills, by the door (or bed) wherever you keep your keys and plug in your phone. And so on.

I'm starting to think that even though the number of workaround routines I require to reduce the load on my working memory is actually rather mindboggling, each ridiculously small routine I write down and post does result in some small reduction in apathy, some small reduction of mental effort, and some increase in my energy and effectiveness with the brain cells available.

I have come to accept that most likely none of this will ever become effortlessly habitual. But in that case having little lists and reminders, plus pre-packed this and that, are still the next best thing... and the closest I may ever again get to being a fully-functioning adult.

acdc01
02-10-17, 07:30 PM
I agree with 20thcentury and fuzzy. The part A should be short. And I like how you put time schedules for everything, you really should keep that.

Is having the list as detailed as it is making you feel overwhelmed or slowing you down in doing your tasks? Cause if not, I don't really see a harm in having such a long list. As long as you put the really important stuff in Part A so you don't miss those items.

Also, I kind of wonder if there is a way for you to make some of those tasks simpler so they become true habits so you don't need to include them in your list like dvdkwls said and still find the motivation to get them done. If not, it's not a big deal. I don't actually feel overwhelmed with your list myself (so as long as you aren't either, it's ok).

Some ideas for simplifying things. Put a laundry basket right by your shower. You're not going to step into the shower with clothes on so if the basket is right next to the shower, it may become second nature to dump your dirty clothes into the laundry basket with just a little practice (I used to be awful and this changed me). I can't imagine you'd accidentally step outside naked so you don't need to include getting a change of clothes on your list. If you forget to get clothes before showering, who cares as you will naturally get them after. Keep deodorant and aftershave in bathroom. Do those there while brushing teach so its just one task combined. I put all my towels in drawers in the bathroom right after laundry is done and laundry is always done on a certain day so I never run out of clean towels. So no task needed for making sure there is a clean towel - there just naturally is one.

I don't make my bed. I never understood that practice and it's just another step for us ADHDers to feel bad about. don't know why you have to open window either. Coffee, I'm naturally driven to drink coke every day - I do wonder if you'd just do that even without it being on your list.

Anyway, just some ideas. Like I said though, I don't think you need to cut your list down at all so long as it's not stressing you out and the priorities are highlighted.

Little Missy
02-10-17, 07:37 PM
I'm just going to say it, that list freaks me OUT! :eek:

Simplify.

dvdnvwls
02-10-17, 10:54 PM
I have actually made lists just like that first one. It felt virtuous to make them, but I never found it to help me.

Everyone's different though.

Fraser_0762
02-11-17, 06:23 AM
I got nothing on the list done anyway. Just slept the whole time! Funny thing is, I probably would have got up earlier if that list wasn't staring me in the face when I woke up! :umm1:

acdc01
02-11-17, 01:10 PM
I got nothing on the list done anyway. Just slept the whole time! Funny thing is, I probably would have got up earlier if that list wasn't staring me in the face when I woke up! :umm1:

If lists don't work for you, just don't use them. I think most of the stuff you listed are habits for most people anyway. We have a harder time making habits but perhaps you can form some if you tackle them one at a time and simplify your life.

I know when I first moved out, I couldn't get myself to cook, clean, wash dishes, or do laundry. I think that's basically every household chore besides my personal sanitation.

Boy, writing this down, I realize what a mess I was back then. I really didn't even realize it back then though cause all my problems were solved with money (the paper dishes so I didn't have to wash dishes, paid the laundrymat to clean my clothes, bought out food or frozen dinners). The only thing I noticed was how messy I was though it never bothered me much (only realized I had an issue after others couldn't stand it).

Anyway,even though I didn't consciously realize I had a problem, I did want to save money. So, I used money to keep my chores light at first and then tackled each problem I had one by one until doing the work became habit. That was how I can now do all the household chores (that and I'm a minimalist). Maybe you can do the same.

Wackykay9
02-13-17, 07:22 PM
Whenever I create my lists I ask myself what are the three most important things I can do today? Everything else is a bonus. I know it sounds stupidly simple, but man, it's effective when you look at a year long span.

stef
02-14-17, 05:34 AM
I have to remember that I never actually have a completely finished List (unless I've made one for some specific complicated thing; or its a list of errands for one weekend morning)

This concept has really saved me from much anxiety.

Fuzzy12
02-14-17, 06:10 AM
ACDC love the laundry basket next to the shower idea. Brilliant!!

bumbleebe
03-11-17, 11:39 PM
I found getting a daily planner increddddibly helpful.
I have the "Daily Simplified Planner" by Emily Ley (yes it's expensive but I got it on sale because it's March lol)

Get one with time slots and a to-do list for each day, preferably with only one day per page, so you can move onto a fresh, clean slate for the next day!

I also added some lined paper at the end as a "brain dump" just as a place to dump all the random 'to-do's' from all parts of my life. I also added in some blank checklist pages to keep a running 'to buy' list as well.

I bring it with me everywhere, so it kind of serves as my brain on paper, so I don't forget things.

Then every night, I sit down and write my to-do's for the next day, then organize them into the time-slots. I include all the 'must-do's' for that day (ie. appointments, travel times, class, etc) then I look at how much time I have left over. Then I put in 1-3 'to-do's' in the blank slots.
And ONLY 1-3

I found that because I forget to eat/how long the subway takes, I have to fill in even those things, so then you end up with less 'free'/useable time each day than you think to get 'to-do's done. If you put too many, you're setting yourself up for an impossible task, and it's no wonder you're feeling overwhelmed and not starting, anyone would!

So yes:
1. get planner
2. fill in must-do's
3. pick 1-3 to-do's for each day, depending on how much free time you _actually_ have.

Fraser_0762
03-12-17, 03:06 AM
Just wondering how you guys get past writers block?

I can have all these ideas in my mind about what I should be doing today, but when it actually comes to writing them down on paper, I seem to draw a blank.

Pilgrim
03-12-17, 04:01 AM
Make it as simple as possible, a couple of words.

stef
03-12-17, 04:45 AM
scribble them down on any paper, as you think of them
then make a nicer formatted list ( or just keep the scribbly one if it doesnt have too many things on it)

dvdnvwls
03-12-17, 06:26 AM
Just wondering how you guys get past writers block?

I can have all these ideas in my mind about what I should be doing today, but when it actually comes to writing them down on paper, I seem to draw a blank.
Can you sound-record them someplace? You could transcribe later, if you really needed the paper to look at.

bumbleebe
03-12-17, 10:03 PM
Just wondering how you guys get past writers block?

I can have all these ideas in my mind about what I should be doing today, but when it actually comes to writing them down on paper, I seem to draw a blank.

I keep a "Brain Dump" list in my planner that is always on me, so every time I have all those ideas at random times, I write them down right away.
It's like a Master To-Do list, (you could have one in your phone too, if that's more your style) and then when I'm making my schedule for the next day, I look over my Brain Dump and see what fits for the next day.

Hope that helps :)

fetchthedog
05-10-17, 03:50 PM
new here, Day 1 and trying to download To Do List recommended on this site. Pls help, don't get it. thanx, kim

namazu
05-10-17, 04:03 PM
new here, Day 1 and trying to download To Do List recommended on this site. Pls help, don't get it. thanx, kim
Hi Kim, and welcome to ADDF.

Which "To Do List" are you trying to download? Do you mean one of the to-do list apps that was recommended above?

If so, you will have to search for it on an external website or app store. ADDF itself doesn't sell or offer commercial software from the forum, and doesn't allow others to do so, either (to avoid being overrun by marketers).

If you mean you want to use (for example) Fraser's or bumblebe's to-do lists as a model for yourself, you can copy and paste the text into a word processor and save the file -- or write it down on a piece of paper (and try not to lose it!).

If you need further assistance, you can contact me or any of the other moderators via private message, or you can start a new thread in the Forums Help, Q&A section (http://www.addforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=16) and we'll be happy to help.

aeon
05-11-17, 10:49 AM
I have needed Microsoft Outlook’s “Tasks” function all of my life.

Better late than never.


Cheers,
Ian

Free to Fly
06-29-17, 09:53 PM
Just found this thread while looking for something else. What I do, is keep the return envelope for bills and such. I write stuff on one side of it, and if I need any additional notes, receipts, extra $$$, or a task specific list (Hardware store project item list) I stuff them inside the envelope. I then fold it in half and stick it in my pocket. Can't write too much on there, and by the time it deteriorates to unreadable status, I actually have crossed some of it off.