Why Renaming Your “To-Do List” to a “Can-Do List” Solves Guilt & Overwhelm

Oscar Lagrosen
2 min readSep 16, 2022

When people think about productivity and getting organized, to-do lists come to mind.

But they have a major downside:

If you have something on a to-do list, it feels like it must be done now. Otherwise, the guilt keeps piling up.

Fortunately, aside from using the calendar for things that truly must get done, there is a solution:

Rename the to-do list to a can-do list

This simple change in wording makes all the difference.

With a can-do list, there is no implicit assumption that the tasks must get done. Rather, they act as options or suggestions instead.

Previously, the goal was to have as few tasks as possible. Now the reverse is happening. The more tasks, the better.

Because the more options, the bigger the freedom. You are not supposed to complete the list anytime soon, but pick the task that feels the most fun or important.

There is also no need to feel overwhelmed anymore. The focus becomes to pick the best task anytime. More options provide better grounds for quick decision-making.

So let the tasks pile up while feeling better every time. Win-win.

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Oscar Lagrosen

Writes high quality tutorials about note-taking apps