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Stressed? Write a list!

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We all know that feeling of having so much to do we simply don’t know where to start.  And a lot of the time it feels so overwhelming we end up doing nothing at all.

Write a List Every Day …

Whilst it may seem counter-productive, taking the time to make a To-Do list can really help. Being stressed doesn’t help with planning your day and being productive.

Think about it – if you’re constantly trying to keep track of everything you need to do in your head, it is going to make you feel stressed.  Getting it all down on paper frees-up your mind and gives you the head-space to actually get on with doing stuff.  The result?  A happier and more relaxed you.

Break down the list

Brain-dumping all your jobs and responsibilities into a list is a great way to start, but you then need to take a few minutes to organise your list too if it is going to be of any use.   Your overall list may be very long, so breaking it down into manageable chunks will make it feel less overwhelming, and more likely that you will get a few things done.  Here’s how to go about it:

  • Write down everything you are holding as a task or responsibility that needs your attention, and also anything that you’d like to find time for too, as these desires can clutter our minds without us realising it.  This is your Master List, and you should add to it as and when new things crop upstressed
  • Highlight those items which are truly urgent, things that absolutely need your attention in the next few days
  • Use a different colour to highlight tasks that you consider to be the next most important – this will be subjective and based on your own idea of what matters – that’s more than ok, it’s very important.  It may be that starting a regular gym session, or giving yourself time to listen to music you love once a week is important to you, so flag it on your list
  • Start a new, shorter list for Today – look at your urgent tasks and put these at the top of your list.  If there are too many, split them up so if possible you can spread them over today and the next few days
  • Now add-in two of your important tasks, one that is quite short that you can complete today, and another that is perhaps a little longer, such as writing your first post on a your new blog – you may fit this task in today or later in the week, but getting down on your list prioritises it for you
  • Get Started!  When you complete a task TICK IT OFF!!!  There is nothing more satisfying, and it is an instant mood-boost
  • Every morning – make a new list, using the previous day’s list as your starting point if you didn’t get through everything, and adding in new tasks from the Master List as often as you can.  Fresh urgent tasks need to go on your daily list too, so you don’t forget them
  • Refresh your Master List each week – you will be amazed at how much you have got through

List making is such a powerful personal management tool.  Those who grudgingly start using them generally recognise their value very quickly, and wonder why they didn’t try it years ago.  They honestly are that good.

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About Cally Worden

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About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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