Live Calmer – Use a “Little Annoying Tasks” List to Get Things Done!

Do certain tasks stay on your “to do” list, but never seem to get done?  You know, the ones that just don’t fit into your daily schedule, that  require “extra” time you just don’t have?  They bug you, you want to do them, but you can’t seem to get them done!

I call these “Little Annoying Tasks” because they tend to live in the back of my mind, annoying me as often as possible and making me feel like I ought to be a better/harder working/more organized woman!  They’re the things I don’t have to do today, so I put them off until tomorrow.  Sometimes it takes me months to accomplish them.  Recently, however, I started making a “Little Annoying Tasks” List (LAT List) and using it to slowly but steadily work on some things I’ve really wanted/needed to do.  Checking things off my LAT List has given me a sense of accomplishment and helped me feel calmer, without overwhelming my schedule.

If some annoying tasks are hanging around and bothering you too, try these simple steps for tackling them:

  • Make a LAT List that is separate from your regular to-do list.  Create it on your phone, computer or paper – wherever you’ll be able to see it and refer to it easily.  I make some lists on my phone, but like to write my LAT List on a 3×5 card that I keep on the kitchen counter.
  • Include tasks that aren’t part of your daily or weekly routine – things that you want to accomplish but normally don’t have time to do.  List as many as you like, but keep it manageable – I like to have 8-10 items on my LAT List.
  • Include tasks that will take different amounts of time to do – some that can be done fairly quickly (10-15 minutes) and others that will take longer.  For very involved tasks, consider breaking them into several smaller tasks that you could do on different days.  Be sure to include several that will take 30 minutes or less to accomplish.
  • Refer to your list daily, just to keep in mind the things you want to get done.  Then, every 2 or 3 days, pick an item and do it!  Start with the things that require less time – do one, cross it off the list, and pat yourself on the back.  A day or two later, pick another one and do the same thing.  For those that require a bit more time, be thinking ahead to when you might be able to fit them into your schedule.
  • Don’t feel bad if you don’t accomplish one of the tasks for a few days.  This process should be completely positive, not something you beat yourself up about!  Just keep your LAT List where you can see it and try to work one of the tasks into your schedule every few days.
  • Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.  Here are the Little Annoying Tasks I’ve accomplished in the past week or so – cleaned and organized my side of the bed/bedside table (both were in embarrassingly bad shape – see before and after pictures below!), took clothes to the seamstress and picked them up (items that my son had been asking me about for weeks), picked up clothes at the dry cleaner (that had been ready for a month), and bleached the shower curtain that was embarrassingly spotted with mildew.  These are all things that I tend to put off, or don’t even think about until it’s too late (like when I trip over books and magazines as I fall into bed).  But having my list in front of me reminded me that I really wanted to get these things done, and now I am ridiculously happy with the results.
  • When you’ve completed everything on your LAT List, make a new one and keep going until you’ve completed all of your Little Annoying Tasks.

(This area was actually worse than it appears in the picture.  It took me 35 minutes to clean and organize it, and I am ridiculously happy with the results.)

Do you have a secret for accomplishing little annoying tasks?  I would love to hear about what works for you.

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Linked to the fun and exciting blog hops at TALU Tuesday, Women Living Well, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Romance on a Dime, A Proverbs 31 Wife, Frugal Living and More, A Humble Bumble, 33 Shades of Green, Not Just a Housewife, The Empowered Momma, and The Wilderness Wife.


31 thoughts on “Live Calmer – Use a “Little Annoying Tasks” List to Get Things Done!

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  4. I am a list maker and I love to cross things off once they are accomplished. It brings such satisfaction. Thanks for sharing. I like the idea of a separate list for the little things & one for the big things. Thanks for linking up to Matrimonial Monday.

    • Hi Kelly – I love the satisfaction of crossing things off lists too! And it has been very helpful to me to have a separate list for things that need to be done, but just don’t fall into my daily routine. Thanks for stopping by – I really appreciate Matrimonial Monday.


  5. What a great idea. Love the LAT list. I have a ton of index cards just sitting around…well not anymore. Where’s my pen? Going to start jotting LAT down. Thanks for the tip as it will come in handy for keeping me SANE. Thanks for stopping by and linking up with my Empowered Living Blog hop. Hope to see you again.

    • Hi Jesse – I love the LAT List! Got another big task accomplished today (and checked it off!). Pretty sure it would not have gotten done if it had not been written down on my index card.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Love this post. I actually started doing this about a month ago and it has been fantastic. Plus it is a huge boost to my marriage. Now when my husband asks me to do something for him I add it to the list. We had fallen into a bad pattern where I would agree to a task then forget about it and feel bad when he asked about it later and I had no good reason for not doing it. So now I refer to my list early in the day and make sure to do whatever I will feel bad about not having done when he asks.

    • Hi Mary – Glad to hear that this approach works for you, and has helped you help your husband! I just love the little sense of accomplishment that comes from crossing off each task!

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Hi Sheryl – I hope it is helpful to you. Just getting 2 or 3 of those annoying tasks done gives me a little boost! I love your site and am thrilled to be able to link up with you.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • I hope it works for you. Even getting a few LATS out of the way can give you a real boost and sense of encouragement. I’m still enjoying my organized side of the bed and feel a little bit of accomplishment whenever I see it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  7. I love this list…and I would add that when I get the munchies late at night (which are always out of boredom rather than true hunger), I organize something -anything. I always feel better when something is finished and looks good and I managed to forgo the snack!

  8. So True! You have a wonderful site & your insight to womanly ways of life is great!!
    Thank you ! Lyn Crawford of Sarasota, FL

  9. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever read said, “Do the hardest thing first.” When I practice this, it is a wonderful feeling to go through the rest of the day knowing the dreaded task is behind me and it’s all down hill from there! This is my first visit to your site, and I’m glad I stopped by. Visiting from Be Not Weary today.

    • Hi Lori – I think that “do the hardest thing first” is great advice. That would probably solve a lot of “to-do list” problems in and of itself!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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