How to make your to-do list shorter, manageable, and even a little more FUN!

In the podcast, check out what I told my bariatric physician at my first visit!
You know what’s been coming up a lot in conversations lately?

The to-do list.

Or should I say, the TOO MUCH to-do list!

“My to-do list takes up all my time. There’s no way I can squeeze in any time to take care of myself.”

“No wonder I never get anywhere with my weight. My to-do list keeps me so busy! There’s no time to make something healthy, exercise the way I should, or get enough sleep.”

Sound familiar?

Like you, I’ve always had a lot of things on my to-do list.

Grocery shopping
Schedule orthodontist appointments
Clean out the garage
Buy a birthday gift
Visit Aunt Jenny

And maybe like you, I wasn’t getting everything done.

With a big family, an aging mom and aunt, and driving 160+ miles to work roundtrip (what was I thinking?), my to-do list only got longer and longer.

But one thing I could always make sure to get done?

Not taking care of myself.

Remind you of anybody you know? Maybe you?
I made so many attempts at getting organized.

Digital planners. Remember Palm-Pilots?
A – B – C.
Pretty planners with fun stickers!
First things first, and all that.

But my to-do list never got any shorter or any more organized. And inevitably I carried most of the items over to the next day.

I really thought my to-do list would get shorter a few years ago when I started working from home and most of my kids were grown and busy with their own lives. I felt like I’d finally have time to take care of myself and do all the things I’d always wanted to.

But that didn’t happen.

Somehow, my to-do list didn’t get any shorter

Was it just me?

Was I just disorganized?

Would I ever figure out how to manage my to-do list?

Is your to-do list making you feel disorganized and like there’s never any time for yourself?
If it is, then today’s your lucky day! I’m about to teach you a unique and effective method for making your to-do list

  • shorter
  • manageable
  • and even (cue the gasp) a little more fun!

This is the same method that’s been transforming to-do lists all over the world!

I’m not kidding. All. Over. The. World.

This method can get you the time you need to not only take the very best care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, but also time to do the things you’ve always wanted to!

Alright, first question.

Do you really have to do all the things on your to-do list?
“Seriously Mary? Of course I do!”

Well that’s what I thought too.

Turns out I was wrong.

And all it took was a woman who enjoys covering herself in bird seed and sitting outside in nature to convince me.

That woman is my teacher, Martha Beck. And along with her love of birdseed and nature, she’s a founding contributor to O, The Oprah magazine, holds three Harvard degrees, has authored seven books, and trains life coaches all over the world.

Martha says all it takes to make your to-do list shorter, manageable, and even a little more fun, is three letters.

and B.

That’s right.

The 3 Bs.

Stick with me now.

Remember, it’s the same method that’s been transforming to-do lists all over the world.

Step #1. Get relaxed and get ready!
You can’t do this in your car, in line at the store, or thinking it over in the shower. You’re gonna need your focus for this. So, find a quiet, private spot to sit down and be with your to-do list.

Give yourself at least an hour (maybe longer the first time) unless your to-do list only has a few things on it. But if it does, why are you even reading this?

Take a few minutes, a few deep breaths, and get comfortable. Do some shoulder-rolls and let your to-do list dread take a back seat for now, because you’re about to do something completely innovative, and FUN!

Step #2. Read through your to-do list…out loud.
Now you know why I said to be in a private spot!

Read through your to-do list, slowly. As you say each item out loud, pay attention to what you’re feeling.

Ask yourself, “Does this to-do list item make me feel…


Or does it make me feel…


Now, on a scale from 1-5, score your reaction to each to-do list item.

5 = “YES! I’m so ready for this!”
4 = “Okay, I can do this.”
3 = “Eh, it is what it is.”
2 = “Do I really have to do this?”
1 = “I can barely say this out loud without gagging.”

You can also use letters, symbols, or colors…whatever feels good.

Do this for each item on your to-do list.


“But Mary! I’m not going to do this for every to-do list item!”
As one of my favorite teachers says, “Do you have time to feel like crap?” Because my hunch is, your endless to-do list, not having enough time to take care of yourself, and not being able to do the things you’ve always wanted to…might be making you feel that way.

So, consider this.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
-Tony Robbins
Or maybe it sounds better to you this way.
“If you do things the same way you’ve always done them, you’ll get the same outcomes you’ve always gotten. In order to change your outcomes, you’ve got to do things differently.”
-Mark Victor Hansen
Choose the quote that works for you but the point is, it’s time for something new.
Step #3. Apply one of the 3 Bs for each to-do list item.
To be fair, to-do list items that scored a 5 or 4 don’t really need a B. Just get those things scheduled!

But for the items that scored a 1-3, let’s find out which B is right for them.

We’re going to work with an ever-favorite to-do list task…CLEAN THE GARAGE.

If cleaning the garage scored a 1-3, let’s see about getting someone else to do it.


There’s somebody out there who enjoys cleaning the garage as much as you love washing the dog.

Or maybe you don’t really mind sorting between “donate” and “discard”, but you’re not a fan of digging stuff out from those deep, dark corners. Then BARTER with somebody to do the parts you don’t like.


What do you have in the garage that somebody may want?

Do you have a special talent you can teach?
Is there something you can make like brownies or a blanket?

What chore do you like doing that you’re willing to trade for?

If you really don’t want to do it, but you want it to get done, you can probably find a way to BARTER IT!

Alright, so you can’t find anyone who’s willing to clean out your garage for a plate of brownies or your offer to wash their dog. But you’ve decided you want your garage clean. So, if that’s what you want, how can you make the whole experience BETTER?

Maybe you can’t find any ONE person who’s willing to take the whole job off your hands, but how about asking friends and family to come over? Rally their support by giving ‘em great snacks, drinks, and an awesome playlist! Or how about pizza the day of, and a barbecue-dance party the following weekend to say thank you!

If you’re on your own, or it’s only you and your best friend, you can BATCH tasks weekly.

Saturday #1. Pull things out of corners, boxes, and old trunks – figure out what you have.

Saturday #2. Gather all items for donation.

Saturday #3. Sort what’s left that you want to keep, put in storage, or discard.

Saturday #4. Take items to the donation center, storage, and the local dump.


How else can you make cleaning the garage even BETTER?

What have you been thinking about doing but never give yourself permission to do because it would be “too indulgent” or “not a good use of time”?

You’ve heard about other people doing it, so why not you? Binge-watch a full season of your favorite show on Netflix, or even four episodes.

Do you have a sketchpad, coloring book, or canvas you’ve been “thinking” about taking out of the closet? Why not put it on your table or easel BEFORE you start cleaning your garage. Let it be your reminder that creative time is coming!

When was the last time you took a new book or favorite magazines to the beach or park, and just read for hours?

Let your imagination fly when you think about how to BETTER your to-do list items. Nothing’s off-limits here!

That’s right. Just don’t do it.

Ask yourself, “What catastrophe will occur if I don’t do this?”

Let’s narrow that question down even more.

“What catastrophe will occur…

this week,
this month,
this year,
or maybe never…

…if I don’t do this?

Like the garage.

If you’ve been feeling bad about your garage being a mess because your neighbor’s newly organized, ultra-tidy garage is all the talk of the neighborhood, will it REALLY be a catastrophe if you don’t clean yours?

But if you’re considering selling your house next year, you may want to get “clean the garage” on your BATCHING schedule. But maybe it doesn’t need to be today, or even this month. Just pick your four Saturdays and BATCH it!

Are you willing to try this innovative method to make your to-do list shorter, manageable, and even a little more fun?

Are you willing to do things differently so you can get a better outcome?

Maybe you’re like a few of my clients who said, “I can’t BAG, BARTER, or BETTER any of this!”

But after following the 3 Bs-method, they decided that wasn’t true. Now they’re 3-B-ING all over their to-do lists, and opening up time to finally take care of themselves and do the things they’ve always wanted to.

“My to-do list doesn’t manage me or my time anymore. I’m not trying to squeeze myself into an already packed schedule. I’m making myself a priority.”

“No wonder I wasn’t getting anywhere with my weight. You actually have to have time to eat right, exercise, sleep well, buy vitamins, fill up your water bottle, and call your doctor. Now I’m clear on what matters, and I MATTER!”

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”
-Paulo Coelho
Alright, now let’s get you 3-B-ING!

Let’s get you the time you need to take the very best care of yourself AND do the things you’ve always wanted to!

Wait, you know what you’ll be doing with all your extra time, right?
Do you have goals for your…

and spiritual health?

Do you have a list of places you want to go, people you want to spend time with, and amazing things you want to create?

If you don’t, there’s space for that on your worksheet {FREE DOWNLOAD} too!

“Let today be the day you love yourself enough to no longer just dream of a better life, let it be the day you act upon it.”
-Steve Maraboli