I don’t know about you but I always resort to writing a list when I start to feel tasks are looming. The trouble is it’s usually when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by all that I have to do that I start making the list. So even though list-making helps me clarify what I have to do and in what order of priority, it also often makes me feel something close to panic as I’m confronted with everything that I haven’t yet done.
The antidote to this is simple, but so effective.
Instead of writing a to do list when you start feeling that you need to prioritise your tasks, begin by writing an already done list. Write down all the things you’ve already achieved today or this week. It’s so gratifying and often quite amazing to glance over all the things we have been up to already, and it energizes us for our list of things yet to do.
It also helps us shift our perspective on time, and how long it takes to do things. Often we can discover that our perception of how long it takes to do fairly mundane tasks is magnified by how much we resist doing them, as the anxiety and procrastination demand way more of our energy than actually just getting on with the thing in the first place.
So to keep the stress out of ‘to do’ lists, to ramp up your energy levels for your next bunch of activities, AND to develop an awareness of the relationship between tasks and their duration, write an ‘already done’ list first. You’ll be astounded by how much more progress you will make more quickly.