When you have anxiety, it can be really hard to focus. Countless thoughts and ideas going through your head all day long can be exhausting.
Buckling down and really accomplishing things can feel like an impossible task when you’re going around in circles.
Many of the things I think about on a day to day basis cause me stress, thus magnifying my anxiety. I begin this vicious cycle of feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and anxious, when all I really want to do is get going.
The best way I’ve found to make sense of all my thoughts and get down to business is to make lists.
This is why I think you should make lists:
1. They help organize thoughts & boost productivity.
When you feel like you have a million and one things to do, where do you start? Choosing a focus point can be overwhelming and so can getting started.
Making a list can help curb your anxiety by putting things into perspective. You can see what needs to be done, organize their role, lump things together, and break them down into smaller, more manageable lists.
I like to make a list at the beginning of the week of all the things I need to get done. From here I take them and put them in order of btime dependant vs want vs need. This allows me to simplify things and delegate them each to their most convenient place in my schedule.
Making a list can save you from running around all day, and being left feeling exhausted and unaccomplished.
2. You don’t have to be organized
Getting started, working on a bigger idea, or just having a lot to get done, can be very overwhelming. If your anxiety causes you to seek perfection, you might have trouble with initially getting started on a list. Maybe you don’t want to forget anything, or you might feel like you have to finish one section before moving on to another.
When there is just too much to list, and you need the room to expand – start with a mind map! A mind map is a great way to throw all your thoughts onto paper as they come. The layout of a mind map gives you the freedom to jump from idea to idea, and back again.
Scatter brains, rejoice! You can take your mind map and make your lists from there.
3. You can simplify your tasks
When you’re plagued with Anxiety about all the things you have to do, it can bog you down. We can all relate to making more mistakes in a rush, and accomplishing less as a result. Creating lists takes the focus outward so you can better focus on managing your responsibilities
Sitting down to make a list gives you the opportunity to lay it all out and visualize your focus. If you’re working on a larger project, you can break it down into small, simple parts. Not only does this ease your mind, but it helps you make better use of your time.
4. You can better prioritize
With a complete to do list in front of you, you know exactly what you need to accomplish. This is a great starting point for ordering importance.
Making lists enables you to take a good look at the tasks ahead of you, and give proper thought to what is most important to your energy levels and your time limits.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself: What has a set deadline? What is a larger goal? What is a short term goal? What can be broken down? Can anything be combined to save time? Are two errands closer together? What is important to you? Are you making certain things more complicated?
5. You get to check things off & refer back
Your to do list will eventually become your list of accomplishments.
Physically checking items off your list gives a sense of pride. One by one as you return to your list and cross things off, you watch the mountain become a mole hill.
You can also refer back to your list in overwhelmed moments to see what you have accomplished. This is one of the many reasons I like to keep planning lists in my journal. On days I feel down on myself, I can look back and see all the things I have done so far. In that moment I can inspire myself and flip the negative feelings around a bit.
I know it’s overwhelming to get started, so I really hope this list about how awesome lists are has inspired you in some way!
Now go give it a try. Grab a pen, and go make a list for your day!