3 Ways to Declutter Your To-Do List

Prioritize what's important by decluttering the excess

My word for 2017 – decluttering. I started last year, with corners, drawers, and dressers. I continued with to-do lists and unrealistic expectations. Then I got stuck. I am stuck because I do not know how to get rid of more. Yesterday, I had endless energy so I stayed up too late. I operated in my auto-pilot because I knew that energy like that was in short-supply, so I exercised, and picked up the piles of toys. I did homework with one child, worked on letters and numbers with the other two. Yesterday, I was mother of the year. I put my phone down. I was present in the lives of my family. I set the backpacks on the couch, remembered to send in money for the penny parties and t-shirts, paid the lawn guy, and put the nap mat in position to return a day late. I checked the mail, threw away the junk and set up the rest to be paid, laid out my clothes for today…That was yesterday.

Today I was doing well. I was feeling the leftover effects of Easter break. My nerves were not on end nor my patience expended. Yet, on my way home, I began to feel the end of the energy.  I thought maybe I could muster enough to catch up on blog promo. I thought I had enough to exercise again. I could do homework with my kids and read again. Maybe we could play the game we did not get to play yesterday.  Maybe I could spend the last of my evening being wife of the year. Maybe I could tell him how much he really means, that I love him, and I am not sure how people survive without a Brett. But shortly after dinner, and homework, and reading, I sat down and cuddled up against him on the couch. We began to start on the application to get my daughter into pre-kindergarten, and at about page two, I fell asleep…for the evening.

I half remember my kisses from my son, questions about the location of the shampoo…a request for something or other, followed by a “Leave mommy alone. She’s sleeping.”

At 8:45, I woke up enough to look at my phone and recognize, I had slept away my hopes and dreams for the evening. I dragged myself upstairs to a sleeping husband and a wide awake 3-year old.

I began to look at all that still remained to be done.  I really just want to spend one day where I feel like I have mastered being an amazing wife because I am married to a man that is entitled to just that. So I have decluttered my to-do again to the bare minimum – to what people need to see. I have given God the same load of all the excess again. And here’s my finals answer:

  1. Spend time with God every day
  2. Play with my children
  3. Enjoy the uninterrupted company of my husband.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Document the process.

Everything else is extra. And as I prayed about all the extra, I could hear His response even before I could finish my pleas.  He gave me a clear cut list of how to declutter my to-do list which I will now relate to you.

  1. Give it to God.  The grades that need to be entered, the dishes that need to be done, the laundry, the floors that need sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming. Give Him the comments, texts, and emails that need responses. Give Him the people that you love more than life itself.  Surrender the blogging world that has so much to teach. In exchange, He will shorten you must-do list.
  2. Leave it there.  So often we give things to God, only to pick them back up when morning comes, when we feel refreshed from a Spring Break or a long weekend, from a nap or other source of much needed sleep.  We subconsicously tell Him we can take things from here only to find ourselves back at step one much quicker than we anticipated.  We begin to arrange and re-arrange all of the things that must be done to maintain some sense of order and sanity.  God’s got it.  He does not need  nor require your help in prioritizing.  He will take care of the extra. You will get it done. He will assign as needed on a daily basis, but only after you have finished His top priorities. You are consumed in the clutter.  He is consumed in simplicity…
  3. Cut out the excess.  I cut my hair…A wonderful stylist named Anastasia at an amazing shop called Baby Bangz here in New Orleans cut and styled my new do (shameless plug). The “relaxer” I was using before was really damaging my hair, but I continued to use it and combine it on and off with hair that was not my own.  Despite the fact that over and over, the process proved that it would break my hair off all the way down to the new growth.  (Please note the symbolism).  I thought it was the only way I could be beautiful, and does not everyone want to be beautiful?  As I was playing with my new curls in the mirror, my daughter climbed on the counter and she began to play with her curls…She’s three. And she has never before voluntarily done anything with her hair that did not accompany whining and tears. It was like she sensed that I did it for her. I wanted her to grow up knowing that her curls are beautiful.  She was telling me thank you in her own way.

Transitioning to natural African-American haitI will never forget that moment. The day God showed me the effects of cutting off the excess down to my most natural state.  When reminded me why He asked me to use the list He provided without all the excess.  He did it for those two girls in the mirror learning to love themselves underneath the layers, for ordinary moments filled with an extraordinary impact.


What are your thoughts on decluttering “to-do’s”?

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20 thoughts on “3 Ways to Declutter Your To-Do List

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  1. this post was such an inspiration to me! I have to declutter every once in a while my to do list. I write down so much stuff that I forget about spending time with family. then I get so much done In one day, I’m excited but I could have used that time doing chores spending more time with family. Now, I only write down one thing a day that I want to accomplish for chores. this doesn’t include the basics… dishes, laundry, sweeping. but it includes the other bigger things that take more time… cleaning out drawers, organizing a room, etc. I found that when I only write down one thing, I can cross it off, feel good about myself and also spend time with family. if I don’t get it down. I just move it to the next day. thank you for your inspiring post !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your hair, Brittany. As weird as it sounds, sometimes a simple act of decluttering ourselves like getting a new hairstyle can assist with changes that we need to make. We look different and maybe that will change our outlook on things.


  3. Oh my goodness, I love this post! The feeling like supermom one day, only to crash & burn the next… such a perfect description of how life goes sometimes. Love the tips for decluttering the to-do list… will definitely put those to use!

    Liked by 2 people

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