June 26, 2023

The Dangers of Keeping a Mental To-Do List and How to Fix It

As a CEO, you likely have a lot on your plate. It can be tempting to keep a mental to-do

list to try and keep track of everything that needs to be accomplished. However, this

habit can actually be counterproductive and even dangerous to your mental health.

An article from The Corporate Governance Institute states, in the same way that boards

approach other corporate risks, it is important they treat mental health – including the

mental health of CEOs and their executive team – as a corporate risk that must be

identified and managed effectively.

When you keep a mental to-do list, you are constantly overthinking and trying to

remember everything you need to do. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and even

burnout. Additionally, relying solely on your memory can lead to important tasks slipping

through the cracks, causing further stress and potential negative consequences for your


So, what can you do to fix this issue? Here are some productivity tips for CEOs looking

to improve their task management:

1. Write it down: Instead of relying on your memory, write down your to-do list on paper

or in a digital task management tool. This will free up mental space and allow you to

focus on other important tasks.

2. Prioritize: Once you have your list, prioritize your tasks based on importance and

urgency. This will help you stay focused on what needs to be done first and prevent you

from feeling overwhelmed.

3. Break it down: If a task seems too daunting, break it down into smaller, manageable

tasks. This will make it easier to tackle and help you feel a sense of accomplishment as

you check off each small task.

The importance of breaking down tasks

Breaking down tasks is a crucial aspect of effective task management. When you are

faced with a large, complex task, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to

start. Breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks can make it easier to

approach and accomplish.

Not only does breaking down tasks make them more manageable, but it also provides a

sense of accomplishment as each small task is completed. This can help motivate you

to keep going and tackle the larger task at hand.

Additionally, breaking down tasks can help you identify potential roadblocks or

challenges that may arise. By anticipating these issues, you can better prepare for them

and come up with solutions ahead of time.

Breaking down tasks can also be helpful when delegating tasks to others. By providing

clear, specific instructions for each small task, you can ensure that everyone is on the

same page and working towards the same goal.

Overall, breaking down tasks is an important aspect of effective task management. By

taking the time to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, you can

increase productivity, reduce stress, and achieve your goals more efficiently.

4. Delegate: As a CEO, you will likely have a team of employees who can help share

the workload. Delegate tasks to others who are better suited for the job or who have the

bandwidth to take on additional tasks.

• Delegating tasks to others who are better suited for the job: As a CEO, you

may have employees with specific expertise or skills that can be utilized for

certain tasks. Delegating tasks to those who are better suited for them can save

time and improve overall productivity.

• Delegating tasks to others who have the bandwidth: If you have a lot on your

plate and are feeling overwhelmed, delegating tasks to others who have the

bandwidth to take them on can be a helpful strategy. This can free up your time

and mental space to focus on other important tasks.

Overall, delegation is an important aspect of effective task management. By delegating

tasks to others and providing clear instructions, you can save time and improve


5. Use task management tools: There are many digital task management tools available

that can help you keep track of your to-do list and prioritize tasks. Some popular options

include Trello, Asana, and Monday.com.

In conclusion, keeping a mental to-do list might seem like a good idea, but it can

actually be detrimental to your productivity and mental health. Mental health deserves

significant attention at all levels of business including CEOs and executive levels. By

utilizing the tips above and implementing a task management system, you can improve

your productivity and reduce stress in your daily work life. Coaching is also an antidote

to the stress and overwhelm caused by mental overload. I challenge you to schedule a

complimentary call with me to help you get on top of mental overload starting now.

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About the Author 

Benita Williams is an International Best-selling author, Self-care Strategist, and CEO of Benita Williams Enterprises, LLC., a business consulting company. Find out more at www.benitawilliams.com. Looking for additional tips to add to your own practice?
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