How to improve your mental well-being with a simple to-do list
I don’t know about you but my anxiety starts to flare up when I don’t have a decent plan of action for the week ahead in place. Everything just feels completely overwhelming and I don’t even want to get out of bed because I can’t bear the thought of starting the day.
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I have realised over the years that without knowing what exactly my day ahead looks like, I struggle to wrap my mind around getting it done. I like to create my to-do list on Monday morning or Sunday evenings so that I have a basic outline for the week and I know where I have more free time and which days are non-negotiable for attending events or scheduling in other tasks.
It is probably not the same for everyone but it really helps to know what the priorities are for my day ahead. I list those out in random order and then decide which ones are more important and which can be allocated to other days. The things you focus your energy on should ultimately tie in with your life goals and bigger picture but of course, sometimes we just have to get stuff done!
If you need help setting goals, read my article The importance of setting goals!
If I have urgent looming deadlines then I will shift the less important tasks to later in the week. I don’t see it as a form of procrastination but simply allocating precious time in my day to things that really need to get done. So anything with an urgent deadline needs to be allocated a priority spot while anything that can wait falls to the end of the queue.
Many people do things the opposite way around and allocate urgent space to the simpler tasks in order to get them over and done with and out the way. Personally that approach doesn’t work for me but it’s important that you find your own groove and figure out what works best for you.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
Creating your To-Do list!
If your brain works like mine does then I’d say organise your tasks in this manner;
- List out all your tasks.
- Prioritise the ones that are urgent and need to get done ASAP.
- Break them into smaller more manageable tasks.
- Decide on deadlines – be realistic about when they need to be done and when you can manage to get things done by.
- Allocate less urgent time slots or days later in the week for less urgent tasks so that you don’t feel like you have to get everything done today.
By setting out your tasks, ordering them by priority and then setting deadlines for each task, you eliminate that feeling of absolute overwhelm that can consume you from the second you open your eyes. It’s easier to face the day armed with a to-do list that makes everything seem much less scary and intimidating. Just be sure that you tick those tasks off your list as you go along through the day to really feel the satisfaction of getting things done!