As we talked about in the last article, the “to do” list can be your best friend! Don’t be afraid of it! It may seem scary and overwhelming right now, but please believe in the process! Take a deep breath, and then make a list of everything you have to do that you can think of, and I mean everything! Ladies, if you want to remember to shave your legs, write it down! Fellas, if you want to remember to wish your partner “Happy Anniversary” write it down! The whole point of the list is to include everything that is causing you stress and everything you are afraid you will forget to do.
Got your list? Great, you’ve taken the first step. But wait!!!! You are not done yet! Now, start grouping your items together. Here’s an example – if you have to pick up prescriptions (which happen to be sold at CVS) and you need to buy a toothbrush (which happens to be sold at CVS) then group those items together. This may sound like common sense, but believe me, when you have a list with one hundred items on it, you might not see right away that you can knock out items ten and seventy two at the same time. The more time you invest into initially setting up your list, the more productive you will be and the more time you will save in the long run.
Once you’ve sorted everything out in terms of where you need to go to get each task done, you need to determine when you will do each task. That’s where deadlines come in. Make a list for each item that has to be done immediately, a list for each item that really has no time frame, but is just something you wanted to get around to, and then sort the remaining items by their order of importance, i.e., what needs to be done or can only be done tomorrow, the next day, etc.
Personally, I like to use only one list for both personal and professional because it makes it easier if I can see EVERYTHING I need to do on one page. However, you may find it useful to make two separate lists, which goes along with the theme of learning to keep your personal and professional lives separate and distinct. Either way, creating a to-do list is the first step in calming your life down so you can take a step back and relax!
Now that the hard part is over and you have created your list, it can start to think for you. All you have to do is be diligent about using it, and pretty soon, your list will complete. This is not as easy as it sounds! Ever heard the phrase “in one ear and out the other”? The same goes for your list…just because you have written it down, does not mean that you can forget about it yet. You can only truly forget about it when you have crossed it off your list. Remember, the “to-do” list is a tool towards getting more organized, but just like any helpful aid, it is there to help you, but it can’t work on its own!
Interact with your list often and you will be amazed at how much stress you will be relieved of, I promise!