• Christina Van Starkenburg

Book Review: Taming the To-Do List


The dishes pile up and my writing deadlines arrive much sooner than I think they should. Both of those situations usually happen at the same time and they make for a very stressed-out and upset me.


It's times like this that I realize I have a problem, and it's called procrastination.


Fortunately for me, Glynnis Whitwer's book Taming the To-Do List (Revell, 2015) had the answer.


Taming the To-Do List is an ideal book for women who want some solid advice on how to get their lives under control. In her book, Glynnis walks the reader through what procrastination is, different reasons people struggle with it, and how individuals can overcome it. Throughout the narrative she sprinkles the advice with stories of her own struggles and facts.



As someone who tends to procrastinate, I really liked reading this book. I could really relate to the different stories and struggles that Glynnis was talking about and the advice she gave was so practical.


I especially enjoyed chapter 10, "Replacing Bad Habits with Good." Normally when I've spoken to people about changing habits the advice is something along the lines of "well you just need to do the new thing everyday until it becomes a habit."


Unfortunately, as is often the case with common sense advice, knowing what to do is not the same as knowing how to do it. which is super helpful advice. But Glynnis doesn't just tell you what to do, she breaks down what habits are and explains how to change them:

First there is the cue, which tells the brain to switch to the learned habit. Second is the routine, which can be a behaviour, thought, or emotion. Third is the reward. Also added to the habit loop is a craving that develops for the reward, which is why bad habits are so hard to break... To change a habit, you must keep the old cue and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine. (131)

See? So much more helpful than "just change it." And all of her chapters are filled with advice like that, including a practical application section. At the beginning of the book Glynnis asks her readers to think of a regular task and a personal goal. Then at the end of each chapter she gives the readers a simple task that will help them achieve their goals and accomplish the task.


This is not the first time I've read this book. Each time I do I'm able to put more of Glynnis' tips and tricks into practice an make small changes in my life that leave me less stressed-out and upset, which helps me to be a better writer, wife, and mother.


If you decide to read this book, I hope you find it just as helpful.


NOTE: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

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