Is Your To Do List Causing You Stress?

Is Your To Do List Causing You Stress?

 

Hands up how many of you walk around with a to do list in your bag, pocket, or on your phone?

 

There are probably quite a few hands up right now.

 

We are a society who loves making lists, but how many of the entries on those lists actually get ticked off? How many of them remain there, festering over the long-term.

 

The bottom line is that if you want to be productive, you need to find a way to commit time to the things that need to be done. If you’re a constant list maker, ask yourself whether the action of actually making the list is wasting your time, because ticking the times off never actually materialises.

 

The truth is that to do lists can keep you on track, but they’re also likely to be the cause of your stress. When you think about it, a list which rarely sees an entry ticked off is simply a list of things you haven’t achieved. How negative is that? You’re constantly walking around with the weight of the things you haven’t yet got around to doing. Talk about kicking yourself when you’re down!

 

Whilst there is certainly nothing wrong with scribling ideas down when you think of them, to make sure you don’t forget, why not scrap your to do list and instead go down the scheduling route? This will give you the opportunity to actually do the things that are clogging up your to do list, take the thought from your mind, banish stress, and actually makes you far more productive as a result.

 

A New Idea

 

So, instead of writing a list of what you intend to do (and never really get around to), download a quality calendar app to your phone instead. For every task you need to complete, don’t just write it down and hope it gets ticked off, actually schedule time in to your calendar to do it. Set alarms if you need to. By actually creating time to tick off the item, you’re getting everything done. Can you imagine how wonderful that feeling will be?

 

The ironic thing is that by scheduling time rather than using to do lists, you’re actually combating something called the Zeigarnik Effect. This is the psychological effects of having a list of things you need to do, but can’t actually get around to. It’s those overwhelming feelings of not having enough time in the day. Many studies have shown that you don’t have to actually do the task in order to get rid of the negative feeling of the Zeigarnik Effect, simply making a plan to do them is enough. You’re showing intention, taking control. The scheduling idea does exactly that!

 

Isn’t life stressful enough without adding fuel to the fire? By using small productivity hacks such as this, you can magically create more time in your day, reduce your stress, and none of it requires a magical spell or Harry Potter-esque wand!

 

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Nicola Curtis

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