Optimizing the To-Do List

Optimizing the To-Do List July 8, 2022

As my summer to-do list keeps growing exponentially, I decided to take a minute in my impending overwhelm to take some deep breaths and objectively look at the tasks on my list. While I couldn’t delete anything from that list, that moment of quiet contemplation helped me in optimizing the to-do list. I remembered why each item mattered to me and gave a quiet reassurance that by taking one step at a time and casting my burdens on the Lord, I could eventually accomplish everything on my plate.

various sliced tropical fruit optimizing the to-do list
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Simplify and Purify

“How do we find our way through the many things that matter? We simplify and purify our perspective. Some things are evil and must be avoided; some things are nice; some things are important; and some things are absolutely essential.” ~Elder Neil L. Andersen

Lists Will Never Be Finished. You Can Be Okay with That

“One day, I realized I will never be done. My lists will never be finished. It isn’t possible. I want to tell every woman what I have learned. You don’t have to do it all, and you are never done, and you can be okay with that, and you can accept that. Do what you can each day, ask the Lord to fill in the gaps, and then a new day starts and you begin again. That is part of the beauty of being disciples of Jesus Christ—that we are never done, that there is always something else to do, and that there is always room for improvement.” ~Sister Reyna I. Aburto

What Is One Thing You Want Me to Do Today?

“I know this isn’t unique to me, but sometimes I’m so pressed with everything I have to do that I often don’t even know what the priority is. I have started asking the Lord every morning, “What is one thing you want me to do today?” I’m a maximizer, and I tend to think if one thing is good then five are better and ten are best. Then I’m overwhelmed. So, I’ve calculated if I do one thing that comes through inspiration, 365 times per year for 50 years, that will be a total of 18,250 things that the Lord wanted done. He has counted on me 18,250 times, and I have tried to respond. That is no small thing! One of the greatest feelings is to know when you go to bed at night that you did the best you could that day. Offer it to the Lord: ‘I did my best. Will you please use my offering and augment it with the grace of Jesus Christ?’ And then wake up and try again the next day. I have learned so much by doing this. I had no idea how creative the Spirit can be! Some of my ‘one’ things have been making a phone call, teaching kids to play Yahtzee, listening to a forgetful friend tell stories I’ve already heard, and once it was taking a nap.

As we seek the Lord’s will and strive to do it, we are assured that every small effort is accepted. All the Lord asks of us is a heart full of love and willingness to share that love. We’ve all made covenants to ‘mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort’ (Mosiah 18:9), but that doesn’t mean to run ourselves ragged. Doing better doesn’t always mean doing more. And if you do just one inspired thing each day, you are nevertheless the Lord’s agent.

The Lord doesn’t do things by accident. God has a purpose to all He is doing with you. He accepts our efforts day by day. When we fail or make mistakes, Jesus’s arms are stretched out still and He will help us try again.

Try. Pray. Trust. You don’t have to do it all.” ~Sister Sharon Eubank

Optimizing the To-Do List through the Enabling Power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement

lights in a bottle on the beach
Photo by Andrew Bui on Unsplash

The most miraculously effective thing I’ve learned to do to accomplish what I’ve got to do is to pray and simply lay out the tasks at hand and ask Heavenly Father to magnify my efforts through the enabling power of Jesus Christ’s atonement.  My request is short and unprofound. Then somehow, inexplicably, through Christ’s grace, I feel magnified, multiplied, and replenished. Ideas come. Reminders come. Help comes. His unfailing love carries me through even the most mundane tasks. Sometimes I forget to ask initially, but I remember to ask when I suddenly know I can’t do it all and feel the anxiety mounting.

You’re all incredibly busy and in the thick of important and great things. I testify that you don’t have to do it all at once and you don’t have to do it alone.


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