What’s Your Limit?

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I busted in the room looking like a chicken with its head cut off. My girl couldn’t ignore the tension and frustration shown throughout my face if she tried. Before I could say a word, she knew exactly what was wrong and asked “are you doing your four task limit?”  I dropped my head in shame and responded with a “no, m’am…I wish.”

I’ve always looked at this particular girlfriend as being extremely calm, sweet and never stressed, so when she told me her secret for living a balanced life, I stopped and took notes. She knew that I always had a daunting 20 item to-do list that I’d attempt to pack into one day. She also knows that if I didn’t complete the list, the stress would just spill over into the next day, and the next day, and the next.

When explaining my frustration she chuckled and said “No wonder you’re so stressed! You’re trying to save the world all in one day.” She then explained how she has a limit of four items she puts on her daily to-do lists. I have to admit, when she told me this I looked up at her as if she was growing a second nose. Four items? Really?! There was no possible way that I could do four items daily and still be productive. Still trying to convince me, she pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and asked me to list all the things I needed to do that day. After I was finished, she took back the list and asked what truly needed to be done today? In the end, I walked a way with my four item to-do list and a piece of my sanity.

After giving my overzealous approach to life some thought, I realized it was more the feeling of me wanting everything to be done at once, not necessarily the urgent need for it to be done. I was so concerned with trying to crunch everything together that I was stressing myself out and actually becoming less productive.

The lesson I got from my wise friend is this: life is about being productive while keeping your peace of mind. One can’t exist without the other.

So ask yourself, what’s YOUR limit?

Miracles & Blessings,

Ellisa Oyewo

As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.


  1. Raeven Western

    January 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    YUP! YUP! It does!

    I actually have a entrepreneur 4 item checklist that has really made life easier to breath and enjoy. For incentives, I pay myself every time I complete it. Feels good and encouraging to push to get that list done. It is my Penny Millionaire challenge.

    Thank you for sharing

  2. RocquelleIsLovely

    January 18, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    This is great! Sometimes I don’t even write out my to-do list because the number of things I want to put on it are overwhelming. I’m going to try this starting tomorrow!

  3. Wyletter

    January 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing this helpful information. I use a daily ‘to-do’ list, but I have to admit that sometimes my list is unrealistic in the number of items that include on it. Learning to prioritize and sticking to those priorities is key. I’m going to try to 4 item list.

  4. Miss Mikelah

    January 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I usually keep a to-do list as a reminder of what I have to do, but it ends up getting longer and longer. Think I’ll try the limit of 4 and see how that works out.

  5. eclectikchic

    January 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    great info. A to-do list has been helping me tremendously. Keeping me accountable too.

  6. Niki McNeill

    January 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Oh man did I need to read this this week!! I don’t even realize how much I try to get done each day until I talk to someone else and they point out that I’m doing too much. Definitely need to remember my limits.

  7. Sallomé Hralima

    January 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Great post. I find that I keep a running list of “new” things I need to get done, but make sure that I simply complete the things I said I’d get done from the night before – making no promises to complete anything the same day. At the end of the day, that running list I’ve created from the day’s activities/requests, I schedule in time in my schedule. In other words, I try not to have lists from day to day, but actual times in a day to do things. I always go to bed having emptied that list by either scheduling it in time or adding it to my “Next Great Idea Book.”

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