Do you have a habit of letting everything pile up and then feel overwhelmed by it all? You can make sense of the chaos by making a list of everything that needs to get done that day, or even that week. Here are six reasons why making those lists can help you in everyday life.
Keeps you organized
Lists are great ways to help you stay organized for everything. They can make a huge pile of things seem like nothing once you put them into perspective and organize them as you like.
If you have school and assignments, a good way of using lists is to look at the syllabus and create a list every week to help you stay on top of homework assignments.
If you have to work, then you can use lists to prioritize what parts of the job need to be done sooner than others. By doing this and making it visible to others, you are creating a communication to your fellow coworkers about what needs to be done that day.
Have a huge pile of books that needs to be put away, but you like organization? You can create a list of what books are in what category and then organize them accordingly.
Lists are also great for if you have kids with many activities during the day or week. It helps you stay on top of what they need, where they need to be, or what they need to do.
Helps you plan for future weeks
When you are making lists, you are looking at everything that needs to be on that list and then sorting it. So you are able to plan ahead for future weeks by marking when things need to be done by what day.
You can even add in subcategories so you have mini-steps to accomplish what needs to be done so you don’t feel like you need to do it all at once.
For example, if you have a huge project coming up, school or work-related, then you can put in little goals to help you progress towards the end goal so that you aren’t stressing at the last minute to finish everything on time.
Having multiple mini-goals will make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment in the end rather than feeling like collapsing. The ladder will make you glad it’s over while the former will give you a sense of accomplishment and reward.
Helps you stay focused
If you have trouble staying focused, then making lists might help you. They help you put things into perspective and keep you on a timeline. Whether that timeline is just for the day, week, month, or even year.
As you go about your day, you can look at the list and remind yourself that you need to do this, this, and that before you do the other thing. Reminding yourself of this constantly will keep you focused on what needs to be done.
Even if something comes along to distract you, it won’t distract you for long. Making this a habit can narrow your focus and help you avoid the distractions, or at least minimalize them to help you stay on track.
Feel like you have control of your day and life
If you feel like everything is piling up and you are losing control of your life, try making lists to see what all actually needs to be done.
It might seem like a lot, but once you write it down it turns out that it’s actually manageable for the time period you have. The important thing is to stick to the list until you feel you have fully regained your life again to the point that you can go off the list once in a while.
Of course, there are going to be things that happen from day to day that you can’t control. But making a list of the things you can control will help your mental state. At least for that moment.
Helps you prioritize
There are people who have a hard time figuring out how to prioritize things. If this is you, then making lists can help you a lot. You can even do them in steps if that’s easier.
First, make a list of everything that needs to be done.
Next, organize them into categories. Examples of categories can be: things that need to be done ASAP, things that can wait a few days, and things that have no deadline.
Once you’ve put them into the categories, then arrange them so that the more urgent ones are at the top of the list and the ones that aren’t urgent to be at the bottom of the list. Since we read from top to bottom, it will help you prioritize things as you go down the list.
Making lists can help you reduce stress through a combination of the reasons listed above. Stress can come from feeling like you have too much on your plate, feeling like you don’t have enough time to do everything, and feeling overwhelmed by the combination of both of these.
So, making lists can help you reduce your stress by organizing everything into what is urgent and what is not. You can use them to plan ahead and see if you indeed have or don’t have time for everything.
If you find that you don’t have time for everything, reach out to someone you trust to help you with your burden if they can help. You should never feel ashamed for reaching out for help.
The less stress you have, the more efficiently you can do what needs to be done. While you’re planning and making lists, make sure you put in the time for yourself. Stress can also come from doing too much without taking a break.
If you have more stress, then you might just make mistakes while trying to rush through everything. Mistakes that you will have to go back and fix anyway.