Sunday, 3 April 2016

Taming the To-Do List

Back Cover

Ever just wish the world would stop for a day so you could catch up?

No matter how much we accomplish in a day, we nearly always feel a little guilt over what we didn’t do.  But do we really have more to do than the women who came before us?  Maybe not.

In Taming the To-Do List, Glynnis Whitwer exposes a seismic shift in society:  from one in which most of us were proactive to one in which we carry the burden of having to respond – to every email, text, tweet, and message we receive.  This creates a cycle where everyone else sets the priorities for our days rather than us directing our own lives.  The result?  We procrastinate, putting off the important stuff for later while we tend to the “urgent” stuff right now.

It’s time to take back your schedule!  Ready to tame that to-do list?  This book shows you how.


Even though my job is fast-paced and ruled by strict deadlines whereby procrastination is an unfathomable thought, I’ve found that in my personal life, I can sometimes too easily “put off to tomorrow, what could be done today”.  And it’s always a variety of supposed reasons – (it’s amazing how many different excuses one can think up of when they are trying to get out of something!).  But really what is the root cause for all those excuses?

In Taming the To-Do List, Glynnis points out that procrastination can sometimes arise from is a fear of the outcome which perhaps results in failure - i.e. putting off starting a task or project for fear that it won’t be completed in the way we would have liked (which really is perfectionism), or failing to complete the task or project at all.  Of course, upon digging even deeper into that, one can see a root of pride.  We only accomplish things we can do and do well so that our image is protected.  But to take on a new project where one feels the odds of completing it in a worthy manner are not in your favour, and risk everyone seeing that and thinking badly of you?  Perish the thought! 

That begs the question: if we never challenge ourselves, how can we ever grow?  And it isn’t just growing in our natural abilities – what about our faith and walk with Christ?  If fear of failure is keeping us from accomplishing a personal goal, could it also be preventing us from following God’s plan for our life – thereby being disobedient to His call?  Yes, that’s a troubling statement, isn’t it!  Further it reveals a trust that is placed in our own abilities, and not in the power of Christ.

Of course, there are other reasons for procrastinating, and one of them I believe is “biting off more than one can chew”, as in, saying “yes” to one to many things when we really don’t have the time for it all!  Further, as Glynnis points out, some procrastination is a good thing.  On page 189 she states “all procrastination is delay, but not all delay is procrastination”.  For as it says in Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.  What I learned is that it’s just learning to recognize when procrastination in a certain situation isn’t a good thing, or is becoming a bad habit, and having the willingness to learn to change.

Glynnis doesn’t leave the reader at a standstill upon listing various reasons for procrastination.  She goes into detail about what can be done to help us overcome procrastination.  Some of her very helpful tips include creating a step-by-step plan for a “big project” so it doesn’t seem so daunting to start; implementing realistic timelines for completion of tasks; planning and adhering to simple routines; identify timewasters; have specific goals; enlisting the help of friends and/or family; having an accountability partner, etc.

Taming the To-Do List is a very practical book, but spoken from the heart of someone who cares.  Glynnis’ kind character shines throughout her writing and it felt more like sitting down over coffee with a girlfriend than actually reading an instructive book.  I highly recommend it, and will definitely be striving to apply her helpful advice to my life.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.