The Dump List

I know I’ve written about the dump list before, but it never hurts to have a reminder. :)

I have been feeling especially overwhelmed lately.

The house is really starting to feel neglected, especially the closets and cupboards. Add in a long weekend in Michigan and a day spent in the hospital with my daughter (who’s fine), and you surely can understand.

Oh, and let’s not forget all the things that other people ask (or expect) you to do. That’s probably my biggest source of stress.

Yesterday, as I fielded yet another request from a certain someone (who assured me that he would remind me if I forgot to do it), I just had enough.

That’s when I remembered my dump list.

Now for me, the dump list only gets use when I feel like I do now - overwhelmed and out of control. I don’t use it to manage my daily life.

That means that most dump lists are started on a new sheet of paper, designed to defrazzle me and bring a sense of order to my life.

I was surprised to find that my list contained only 21 items; I was expecting pages.

(And if you don’t know, a dump list is just a list of everything crowding your brain - things to do, to remember, whatever is nagging at you.)

I have to tell you, the dump list worked. Of course, I knew it would. :)

I instantly felt calmer and more in control.

Now rather than trying to keep track of everything in my head, I could just look at the list.

It was comforting to know that all that had been stressing me consisted of a little over 20 items. It felt like a hundred times more.

Looking at the list, I could see that some of the things would take just a few minutes to do and that some could be done while I was watching TV (like clearing out a junk drawer). And some (yay!) could be delegated to someone else, like a kid in need of money.

I now have the beginnings of a plan to get things done.

If I were someone else, I would set dates and schedule these things into my life, but I’m not; I’m me. Having the list is enough to see what needs to be done and get most, if not all, of it done.

Give the dump list a try next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.


  1. I’m a big “dumper,” too! I think all those tasks bounce around like ping-pong balls inside our brains, making it seem like there are so many more of them than actually exist. Writing out my dump list reboots my brain.

  2. I know! Isn’t it wonderful how that one simple thing makes such a difference? I’ve been way more productive since I got everything out of my head and onto paper.

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