To-do-list tension - UK households face an average of 33 tasks a week

  • 75% of UK adults set to tackle their to-do-list over the Bank Holiday weekend
  • ‘Sorting out finances’ is the UK’s most popular task, as the FCA encourages public to check whether they’re eligible to claim for PPI
  • Rachel Riley and Mr Motivator are inspiring people to tick things off their to-do-list

A new study has revealed that Britain’s to-do-lists are jam-packed, as the nation battles to get an unwieldy number of tasks ticked-off each week.

The FCA, which commissioned the research and is encouraging people to put checking whether they’re eligible to claim for payment protection insurance (PPI) on their to-do-list, has subsequently enlisted the help of 90s icon Mr Motivator and ultra-organised Rachel Riley, to help the public complete those tasks they’ve been putting off. The research revealed that three in five (60%) admit to feeling completely overwhelmed by the volume of tasks they need to complete each week, such as sorting out finances, walking the dog and mowing the lawn. While more than two-thirds (67%) feel like they are operating on 'autopilot', meaning that to-do-lists get forgotten.

With so much to do, and almost a third of us (29%) saying we’re simply too busy to do it, it’s clear to see why people struggle to do everything on their list each week. It’s therefore understandable why three-quarters (75%) of the population plan to use the long bank holiday weekend to tick things off their to-do-lists.

Rachel Riley, Countdown's numbers expert and supporter of the FCA’s PPI campaign, said: 

'Life can often feel overwhelming with the number of things we need to do, so it’s easy to understand why many of us find it difficult to tame those to-do-lists. This is especially true when it comes to tasks that we don’t consider urgent, feel like too much of a hassle or just sound a bit boring, like checking whether you’ve been mis-sold PPI.

'But tackling our to-do-lists doesn’t have be tortuous and we all know how good it feels to finally tick off that one nagging task that’s been stuck on there for what feels like forever. That's why I’m supporting the FCA’s PPI Deadline campaign, to give a little bit of help to those who need it to get that satisfying feeling of smashing through their to-do-list this week.'

Rachel’s top five tips for ticking things off your to-do-list:

  1. Plan – Write your to-do-list the night before. You’ll wake up knowing exactly what you need to do.
  2. Prioritise – Tackle your trickiest task first and for the rest of the day you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something. 
  3. Go digital – Hunting around for scraps of paper down the back of the sofa isn’t the way to stay on top of your to-do-list; keep it all in one place, such as on your phone.
  4. Don’t procrastinate – Set yourself a deadline and stick to it!
  5. Reward – Keeping on top of your to-do-list is a tricky business, so when you manage to tick things off make sure you take time to reward yourself for having been so organised!

There are a number of motivating factors that help people get things off their to-do-list, including: feeling less stressed when it’s done (62%), a deadline (48%) and feeling like it will impact loved ones, as well as ourselves, if the task isn’t completed (40%). As an added encouragement, the FCA has worked with 90s icon Mr Motivator to help inspire people to tick things off their to-do-list.

    Video: Mr Motivator asks what's on your to-do list

    The FCA has worked with 90s icon Mr Motivator to help inspire people to tick things off their to-do-list.

    Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, said:

    'Almost half the population say a deadline is the motivation they need to get things done, so we’re urging everyone to make sure they get one important thing ticked off their list this bank holiday, and that’s checking whether they’re eligible to claim for PPI. The deadline for making a complaint is 29 August 2019.'

    If you need help checking if you were mis-sold PPI or want to decide whether to make a complaint before the deadline, visit fca.org.uk/ppi.

    Notes to editors

    *The research revealed that the average UK adult has a to-do-list of 33 tasks to complete each week.

    **As part of the research we asked 2,018 adults what the most common tasks on their to-do-lists were. The following list is the top 20 most common tasks:

    • Sorting out banking / finances
    • Planning and preparing evening meals
    • Booking appointments: dentist / doctors etc
    • Taking out the rubbish
    • Changing the bed linen
    • Filling in forms e.g. passport applications
    • Renewing insurance
    • Purchasing new clothing / uniform items
    • Holiday planning (booking / organising)
    • Cooking breakfast
    • Hosting a Sunday lunch
    • Doing the ironing
    • Filling the car up with petrol
    • Speaking to energy companies to get a better deal
    • Loading the dishwasher
    • Garden maintenance
    • Calling repair / trades person
    • Booking the car in for MOT / Service
    • Organising days out with friends
    • Planning family get togethers
    1. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
    2. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
    3. Find out more information about the FCA.