Advice, Experience
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How to make to-do lists work for you as an introvert & HSP

One of the things that are highly prioritized in our society is” productivity“. No matter if at home or work, getting the most done in the shortest time is the goal for many in most cases. It’s all about ticking the most off your to-do lists: to satisfy your boss, to give yourself the validation of being a hard-working and successful part of society, and to earn yourself your well deserved time off afterward.

In a society that is extrovert-oriented and very achievement-focused, people who can’t finish their to-do lists very quickly are often seen as “lazy” and “unsuccessful” people. Lazy people who aren’t dedicated and willing enough to work hard every day will never be successful because they need too much time to finish their tasks.

Those who can’t keep up with the pace of everyone else are looked down on, and are often being called out for not giving 110% — all day and every day.” Time is money”.

Why daily to-do lists usually don’t work for highly-sensitive introverts

As an introvert and HSP, I know that I tire quicker than others… Not only whenever I’m in a social situation, but also in my normal daily life where outside stimulation of all sorts make my energy level drop very quickly.

For a highly sensitive introvert, this is a natural process for me, but it’s also the main reason why daily to-do lists are usually very difficult for me to work with.

Compared to others, I need many more moments of rest between tasks to achieve maximum productivity. And I’m not talking about the obligatory 5 to 10 minutes of quick pause. I’m talking about rest up to an hour in-between.

They help me prevent my energy level from dropping faster and faster and even allow me to regain a bit of energy before tackling the next to-do on my list. But as daily to-do lists are meant to be finished off in one day, I can’t allow myself the rest in-between, which makes it very hard for me to finish every task and achieve perfect results at the same time.

The psychology behind daily to-do lists…

Daily to-do lists have this weird psychological effect that makes you want to check off everything of this list very quickly only to reduce the pressure that the mass of to-do’s puts on you. This pressure triggers the hormone cortisol in your body and makes it flood your system to make you work as fast as possible.

Every single time. This isn’t really healthy considering that the amount of stress hormones that are being produced at this moment have very negative effects on your health and don’t contribute to making you work better.

Quite on the contrary, stress reduces your productivity enormously and decreases your ability to concentrate and focus, which ultimately makes your brain work even slower than before.

Personally, after years of trying to work with to-do lists, even looking at one triggers my anxiety. They always demotivate me instantly!

Why weekly could-do lists are the way to go for introverts and HSP

As someone who tends to forget a lot of things if I don’t write it down somewhere, I understand why people need lists to be productive and get their work done correctly. I do, too, otherwise, this blog post wouldn’t even be happening right now!

I’m the type of person who really needs a certain guideline to make sure I am my most productive self. But as daily to-do lists really don’t work for me, I decided to instead work with weekly “tasks that I could do”-lists.

Yes, you heard it right – “Could do” and not “to do”-lists!

I love working with weekly “could do” lists. They give me space where I write down E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G that has to be done by the end of the week (or until a specific date) and provide me with a simple overview of all tasks for the week.

Having this simple overview of things that I could do throughout the whole week motivates me to structure my day in a way that makes me the most productive – without overwhelming myself with loads of tasks and allowing time to rest.

For me, this approach lifts off all the pressure of my shoulders and, compared to using daily to-do lists, always makes me perform my absolute best. Honestly, it actually makes fun to work with these types of lists as they allow me to just go with the flow and intuitively do what feels right on that specific day and in every moment!

Want to try out this method yourself and see if it works for you?

For more inspiration regarding personal growth as an introvert check out my social media (Instagram, Facebook or TikTok). I would really be thrilled to welcome you on all of my platforms and let you into my daily life as an introvert.


  1. Whitney says

    I love everything about this post today, Julia. I have always attempted to-do lists and always felt like a failure when I got halfway through and couldn’t bring myself to get anything else done. I love your idea of could-do lists instead; knowing what has to get done through the week and then working through tasks as you have the energy to do so! I’ve adapted my own approach to to-do lists and will only give myself one or potentially two tasks to complete in a day, depending on their scope and energy requirement. I find this is was less pressure and I’m able to feel accomplished with my energy still intact! Lovely posts as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment Whitney! 💜 I also only give myself one to two task per day to work on. I really manage to get all done by the end of the week, and it even gives me space to prioritize the tasks. Energy is such a big deal! I do believe hat we HAVE to consider how we feel before we even think about any lists! Thank you for your very insightful comment 🤩💜👍

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am a Highly Sensitive Introvert and I use a daily To-do list and a calendar even though I am retired. I need the structure. It is what provides the atmosphere of calm for me. This makes sense when you understand that CHAOS is my #1 cause of over-stimulation.

    Liked by 1 person

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