Knock that Lingering Task Off Your To-Do List Once and For All

Lingering Task

When talking to people about how they manage their tasks and whether or not they keep a to-do list, inevitably the conversation turns to how their lists get too long and overwhelming. When that happens, many people get frustrated and just give up on the list.

The most troubling aspect of maintaining a to-do list is the annoyance of the lingering task that just stays on the list and never gets done. When you break it down, there are really only a few reasons why certain tasks linger longer than others. Here’s how you can get rid of those lingering tasks.


Some tasks are important but for whatever reason, we just don’t want to do it. We just keep procrastinating and avoid the task altogether. In “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time,” Brian Tracy popularizes the old adage that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. He suggests that you should take your most important but dreaded task and just attack it, get it done and move on.


Successfully maintaining a to-do list is not just about completing items but making decisions about what’s most important and also what should be removed from the list. Sometimes you add a task to your list with all good intentions of getting it done, but over time it lingers on the list because it’s just not that important. In that case, it’s OK and should just be deleted from your list. If it’s important enough, you can always add it back to your list later.


Other tasks stay on your list because they are just too big and overwhelming to tackle. In this case, break it down and create a task just for the first step. Once that’s complete, you can then create a task for the next step. For example, if you added a task to “Plan the Party” I bet it never gets done. Instead, start with some of the following:

  • Set Date for the Party
  • Create Guest List
  • Draft Party Invitation
  • Select Menu

You’ll find that you will have much more success tackling and completing the smaller, quicker and easier tasks. Similarly, instead of creating a task to “Read a Book,” you can break it down into specific chapters.

Keep in mind, the magic of a to-do list is in checking things off the list and not letting tasks linger.

TRY THIS OUT: Look at your to-do list and review the tasks that have been on your list for over two weeks. First, decide which ones you can just delete. Then, start to break down the tasks that are too big. Finally, if it’s important, make it your top priority for tomorrow and just get it done.

Monisha Longacre
After 25 years in the corporate world, working at Lotus Development, Ernst & Young, The Weather Channel and Play On! Sports, Monisha Longacre founded her own company, Productivity 101 and created a new mobile app called priorigami™: the art of productivity.As our lives have become so much more hectic, demanding and complex, we strive to be more organized and productive but struggle with how to get everything done efficiently. Her mission is to provide simple, actionable and easy-to-use tools to help busy adults track, prioritize and complete tasks, to become more productive and spend more time doing the things that really matter in life.priorigami was designed to be the “Fitbit” for productivity and is based on the methodology that she developed juggling work, home and family responsibilities. Read and follow her blog at for weekly tips and tricks you can use everyday to get more done more efficiently.Download priorigami for FREE from the iTunes App Store.