Tip #54: Keep a can-do list, rather than a to-do list.
The why: When you have anxiety, it can feel like there are a hundred million things
rushing around your mind all at once.
Like the entire population of the planet has somehow shrunk into the size of neurones, been beamed into your brain and are all simultaneously asking for things.
This is why keeping a record of all the tasks you have to do can be really, really useful.
Here’s a list of all the reasons why keeping a to-do list is a good idea:
- It gives you a sense of purpose
- It helps you keep track of all the things happening in your life
- It makes you feel less anxious knowing you haven’t forgotten anything
- It means the important but small things don’t slip through the cracks
However, sometimes such a long to-do list can make you feel incredibly stressed.
You know that scene in Cinderella where she is given that huge parchment full of chores and freaks out?
Yeah. I think we all know that feeling.
You take one look at it, think “there’s no way I can get all of that done. Oh well, may as well take a nap.”
There’s actually a psychological reason for this reaction. When our brain is too overwhelmed, it shuts down and goes into sleep mode.
Have you ever tried to download something huge onto your phone or computer, and suddenly it begins glitching and turns off?
Well, your brain is like that computer. Too much and it force quits to protect itself.
This is why I’ve begun using a two-list method in order to trick my brain into staying awake.
Firstly, I make a huge to-do list of everything I have to do that week.
I call this: The Mega-List (makes it sound a little cooler? But also infinitely more terrifying).
The purpose of this list is just to keep track of everything I have to do over the course of a week. Of course, the list changes. Some things are added, some things are subtracted.
It acts as a jump off point for the second list.
Secondly, I make a smaller can-do list of all the things I think I have enough energy to do that day without my brain going ‘nope’.
This list is far more manageable and looks like a reasonable amount to do. That makes ticking off the items all the more satisfying.
This two-tier list system works, because it means you can write out that huge important list of weekly tasks to keep track of your life without having to panic about how much you have to do. One list for the week, and one for the day.
All of the benefits, none of the worry.
Plus, you can even colour coordinate your lists into different colours for different kinds of chores, or different levels of priority. List-making can be fun!