Is your to-do list helping you or hurting you? If your to-do list is helping you, that's great. But if you are like a lot of people in this day and age, and your to-do list is weighing you down and making you feel like a failure, I've got some ideas for you to try.
1. Keep your list short and to the point. I have a longer to-do list so I don't forget things. But when I am feeling overwhelmed with it all, I make a separate to-do list of my 3 priorities for the day. It looks much more doable, and I get the important things done. If I accomplish those, then I can see what else I want to get done on my bigger list.
2. Create a have-to list and a want-to list. Make an agreement with yourself, that after you do something on your have-to list, you can then pick something to do on your want-to list. This also ensures that your want-to things don't get left out of your life while waiting for your to-do list to get finished first. We all know that won't happen.
3. Aside from critical things, stop focusing on an overbearing to-do list and make a daily or weekly "done" list instead. When I'm not getting much done on my to-do list, I can start to feel like a failure. I ask myself, "What did I do today?" Then I start to review my day and discover I actually did quite a bit overall, just not things on my list. That's when it's time for a done list. Keep track of what you do. It will make you feel better at the end of the day, and you will likely become more motivated to get more things done to grow that list. And you will effectually start getting things done off of your to-do list.
4. Sometimes no matter how well we plan and how motivated we might be to accomplish things, life happens and gets in the way. Some days you just have to throw the list out the window and ride through the roller coaster, doing what you can and not worrying about what you can't for the time being. We simply can't do everything.
5. Finally, recognize that a to-do list is ongoing. It is never finished, because as we cross things off, we keep adding more. It's not about finishing the list. It's about taking care of the things that need to get done, and making progress on other things that are important to us.
I hope that you will find a way to be master of your lists, and not let your lists be master of you. I have found it's a continuing work in progress, so I use different strategies as needed. When something is working, stick with it. When it's not, try something else. :)