I am constantly seeking new ways to manage my to do list. It can regularly throw me into a panic.

Even when I write down all the things, there are so many. Should I work first on a blog post? Or something for work? Or maybe call a friend I haven’t talked to in ages? Ugh, I can’t even see the top of my desk – maybe I should clean that off first. Crap, I also need to clean the bathroom!

It doesn’t take long for me to start spinning. Which means I’m getting exactly nothing done.

Not Sure What’s Next? Pick at Random

It seems so obvious in retrospect.* If I can’t find a good reason for choosing the next right thing, and if it’s not intuitively clear, the best option is to do something. Anything. And trust that even if it isn’t exactly the right next thing to work on, I’ve at least done one thing instead of getting stuck in an endless loop of stuck. Plus it’s likely that working on one thing actually helps me work on all the other things too.

How To Randomize a To Do List

Step 1: Write down all the things I have to do. Only include ones I can actually do right now.

Step 2: Label each item with a number, starting with 1.

Step 3: Use a random number generator to pick one of things.

Step 4: Do it.

Repeat as long as I want. Building in some breaks is advised.

Watch the Magic Happen

I am consistently amazed at which tasks randomly get picked for me. Like the day I didn’t want to meditate, even though I’m trying to meditate every day for 30 minutes. I put meditation on the list, and figured if I was meant to do it, it would be selected. Of course, it was the FIRST THING selected.

Or the people I’ve contacted when normally it takes me weeks to connect with people. Or the proliferation of blog posts that happen when I can put several ideas on a list, and just wait for them to get selected at random.

I’m not completely beholden to the number generator. Sometimes I still pick my own tasks, when it’s clear to me that one feels more important or urgent. But the only reason I can skip a task is if it’s actually time to go to bed.

*I am eternally grateful to Beth Wodzinski for suggesting the random to do list! It’s totally changed my world.