According to Psychology Today, making a list can: help reduce anxiety, provide solace, and organize our internal chaos, and I wholeheartedly agree! Ask anyone who’s lived with me – and maybe even those who’ve worked with me – and they’ll tell you that I’m a big list maker. On a typical Saturday morning, one of the first things I do is write up a list of what I want to accomplish over the weekend. If for some reason I’m too busy or forget to do this, I quickly regret it. Not only do I run around like a chicken with my head cut off, but I feel as scattered-brained and aimless as that chicken too.
For me, forcing myself to write a to-do list helps distill and organize all the random ideas and thoughts I’ve gathered in my head throughout the week, and gets me thinking about what's most important. Even if I don’t use the list, I find a therapeutic benefit to having written it.
Want to get started? Here are a couple of tips:
- Set yourself up for success by being honest about your time. Remember that you don’t have to do it all today! Consider keeping an ongoing “as time allows” type of list for your long-term, but not urgent goals. You can pull from this as needed to build out your daily list.
- Determine your top three to dos and write these on a whiteboard or a small piece of paper you can carry with you. Do these first! Once you get your big items completed, then you can move to your smaller or easier to-dos. I often find that the more I check off a list, the more momentum I feel to keep going and finish everything.