The Danger of Someday Maybe Lists

Do you have a Someday Maybe list?

Most of us do.

However, the problem for most people is that they never get to the items on this list.

How many things on your Someday Maybe list have been there for over a month?

3 months? 6 months? A year or more?

When is Someday?

Someday is the day after tomorrow.

It never comes.

That is the danger of Someday Maybe lists. Most of us never get to them.

In fact, by putting tasks on them, we are dooming them to a “never happening” status.

“The problem with Someday Maybe lists is

…that Someday never comes.

Maybe we should just call them Someday Never lists.”

Tasks go there to hang out forever. Some go there to die.

We never get to the things on these lists.

Maybe we should call them something else.

Dealing with Your Someday Never List

Are you keeping a Someday Never list?

You put tasks on your Someday list, and then you go back to daily life. Often, never to return to them.

Here are a few tips to keep your Someday list in check:

  • Review it Regularly – All todos should be kept visible. Knowing what is on your list drives awareness and priority. Most people never review their Someday list. They pile up lots of great ideas and goals there, but they never get to Someday. Look at yours regularly.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Cross Things Off – Some people are afraid to work with their Someday Maybe list because they do not want to cross things off of it. That is part of the purpose of it, to hold items that are not ready yet. Don’t be hesitant to change your mind and delete some of these items.
  • Move Things to Today – The issue that many deal with is that things never “return” from their Someday list. When appropriate, make sure you move things from your Someday list to your today list. Get them back in your daily activities when the time is right.
  • Call Your Shot – Telling people about your future tasks and goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Want to make sure those future tasks get done? Tell your friends and family what you will accomplish. Call your shot and be bold.
  • Beware Time Sensitive Issues – Look out for things sneaking on to your Someday list that do not belong there. When we procrastinate, it is tempting to add things to our Someday list that belong on our todo list. Watch out for time sensitive issues. For example, that doctor’s appointment or that oil change should not be hanging out on your Maybe list.

Shifting the Strategy

Don’t let your Someday Maybe list become a neutral zone from which nothing ever returns.

Review it regularly. Make sure you bring tasks back to the current tense.

Maybe we are setting the wrong mindset by calling them Someday Maybe lists.

Let’s call them Future Task Lists.

This puts them in the future tense, yet gives the vision that they are actually things we are going to do.

So, what is on your Future Task List?

And when are you going to do it?

 

Do you keep a Someday Maybe list? Do you ever get to the tasks on it?

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24 thoughts on “The Danger of Someday Maybe Lists

  1. A good friend of mine, @Sara Clark Williams, taught me the value of “Dump, Bump or Do”. If I see tasks continuing to come up on my list or are actually causing me anxiety when I keep seeing them I have learned from her to apply that saying to those items to determine an action. Number one, they may not be important enough to me to do so why have them there, number two, they may be important enough to do but need to have a more realistic stated time frame, or three, just do it and do it now. Make a commitment and make that the priority. I won’t say that I am an expert but I have been able to get more accomplished realistically by this technique and learned the value of saying “No” before something gets placed on my list in the first place!

    • @jastewartdvm@sara Great thought! And you are right on with value of being able to say “No” before putting something on your list.

  2. A good friend of mine, @Sara Clark Williams, taught me the value of “Dump, Bump or Do”. If I see tasks continuing to come up on my list or are actually causing me anxiety when I keep seeing them I have learned from her to apply that saying to those items to determine an action. Number one, they may not be important enough to me to do so why have them there, number two, they may be important enough to do but need to have a more realistic stated time frame, or three, just do it and do it now. Make a commitment and make that the priority. I won’t say that I am an expert but I have been able to get more accomplished realistically by this technique and learned the value of saying “No” before something gets placed on my list in the first place!

  3. I use my someday maybe list for things that I don’t want to forget. Such as ideas for our book launch and tour or things I want to do with Spin Sucks Pro after we reach a certain subscriber level. On the flip side, though, if something has been on my to-do list for a few weeks, I either delegate it or get it off my list.

    • @ginidietrich Good stuff!

      Getting stuff off the list is important. I often find when I delegate something that has been on my list for some time… that it probably could have been delegated earlier. Which leads me to wonder if I was the one holding up the task?

      (Just a thought I had recently about productivity flow in the workplace… maybe an upcoming blog post.) 😉

  4. I use my someday maybe list for things that I don’t want to forget. Such as ideas for our book launch and tour or things I want to do with Spin Sucks Pro after we reach a certain subscriber level. On the flip side, though, if something has been on my to-do list for a few weeks, I either delegate it or get it off my list.

  5. @ginidietrich Good stuff!

    Getting stuff off the list is important. I often find when I delegate something that has been on my list for some time… that it probably could have been delegated earlier. Which leads me to wonder if I was the one holding up the task?

    (Just a thought I had recently about productivity flow in the workplace… maybe an upcoming blog post.) 😉

  6. @jastewartdvm@sara Great thought! And you are right on with value of being able to say “No” before putting something on your list.

  7. Craig,

    Great stuff as always!

    I always felt that Someday list almost gives you a permission to procrastinate on certain tasks.

    One thing related to Someday lists is that certain tasks are taken off the list automatically. For example, your priorities may change, your life may change … This means that certain tasks that you originally put to Someday list can be cleared off, because they do not matter to you anymore.

    Anyway … reviewing your list regularly is the best way to tackle your Someday list.

    Timo

    • @timokiander Agreed.

      I think the term “Someday” list just leads to it being a procrastination list. I prefer “Future Tasks.” Or something action related.

      And yes, you can/should take things off the list as your circumstances change. 🙂

  8. Craig,

    Great stuff as always!

    I always felt that Someday list almost gives you a permission to procrastinate on certain tasks.

    One thing related to Someday lists is that certain tasks are taken off the list automatically. For example, your priorities may change, your life may change … This means that certain tasks that you originally put to Someday list can be cleared off, because they do not matter to you anymore.

    Anyway … reviewing your list regularly is the best way to tackle your Someday list.

    Timo

  9. @timokiander Agreed.

    I think the term “Someday” list just leads to it being a procrastination list. I prefer “Future Tasks.” Or something action related.

    And yes, you can/should take things off the list as your circumstances change. 🙂

  10. For years, I had the idea of being a mentor to young sex traffficking victims swimming around in my head. I wanted to do it but was held back by fear, uncertainty, other obligations, and it just sat on the back burner for a while. The temptation to jump into it would rise but return to the back burner again but as I near my graduation date, I am filled with this desire to finally pursue it. 🙂 I sent in my cover letter today. Wish me luck … it feels AMAZING to move forward on a back burner project …

  11. For years, I had the idea of being a mentor to young sex traffficking victims swimming around in my head. I wanted to do it but was held back by fear, uncertainty, other obligations, and it just sat on the back burner for a while. The temptation to jump into it would rise but return to the back burner again but as I near my graduation date, I am filled with this desire to finally pursue it. 🙂 I sent in my cover letter today. Wish me luck … it feels AMAZING to move forward on a back burner project …

  12. For years, I had the idea of being a mentor to young sex traffficking victims swimming around in my head. I wanted to do it but was held back by fear, uncertainty, other obligations, and it just sat on the back burner for a while. The temptation to jump into it would rise but return to the back burner again but as I near my graduation date, I am filled with this desire to finally pursue it. 🙂 I sent in my cover letter today. Wish me luck … it feels AMAZING to move forward on a back burner project …

  13. I was listening to the Virtual GTD study group and I thought @Tararodden had a good idea – split your ‘someday’ and ‘maybe’ lists up – the former is a ‘definitely do’ list and the latter is more of a ‘for consideration’ list.
    I think this could help keep you focused and prevent the ‘definitely do’ tasks from drowning in the ‘maybe’ section.
    Food for thought as always Craig!

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