Deleting my task list.

by Productivity

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On December 19th at 9:58 AM, I deleted my entire task list in GTasks Pro with one click. I literally gasped out loud and frantically for two minutes tried to find it. Looking online, there were questions from other users who had done this with no response from the company. That's what I get from using a small task app and not one that is established. Deleting my task list…. felt like the end.

I loved that little app. I'm still using it because now I know that as long as I don't create a new type of list, it can't be deleted. I only used it for my personal tasks, since our company tasks are all in Asana. However, once our company moves entirely to ClickUp* in February, I'll be transferring everything to that platform. It seemed easier than learning a new app just for a month.

That day was a struggle for me on top of six weeks of being over-capacity. I had the excellent, fortunate challenge of more work than I could handle. My calendar was filled with meetings and coaching calls, even though everything not mission-critical or direct $$$ was removed or postponed. I worked on projects that were new to the company that involved more deep focus time to be creative and strategic. 

On that Friday, due to the previous six weeks of 100mph, deleting my task list, and a call with Gusto that was 1:45 minutes long, I was literally on my knees sobbing. Yes, even I can get overwhelmed. I'm not perfect, and I have my moments too. 

By Monday morning, I realized that deleting that task list was the way back to sanity. 

My list had tasks all the way up through a year. I have speaking engagements already booked for the fall, and all the items I needed to do leading up to it were on the calendar. It's where I keep birthdays (sorry in advance if I miss yours this year!) and personal to-dos.

I remembered what I could and then decided for the rest…well, what's the worst thing that could happen? I have to apologize for the delay? I scramble to get something done at the last minute?

What I got from having no task list was a clean slate. A rewiring of what was important and what I was doing that didn't need to be done any longer. It felt refreshing, like decluttering my closet or wiping my whiteboard clean.

Empty Whiteboard

I don't recommend this all the time and certainly not to set yourself up for cramming at the end or missing a deadline, but if you are feeling overwhelmed with that long list…

Delete it.

  1. Start clean. Whether it's once a year, once a quarter, or once a month.
  2. If you have kept pushing it forward day after day, do you really need to do it? Can it just be eliminated?
  3. By removing the recurring task from your list, do you miss it? Does your work suffer?

I'm back in a good place with my business growing (38% last year!) and a ClickUp consultant to do the heavy lifting to move all of our tasks. I'm also interviewing another team member so I can take on the work I want to.

I'm not wasting any time on tasks that became a habit or didn't serve our mission.

It may have been an accident, but deleting that task list, which felt like the world falling in at the moment, was the best Christmas present I could have received.

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jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects