Lists are for life, not just for Christmas

I am no great list maker. That title would belong to my wife if ever they hand out a medal for such a thing. Despite this I do see the benefit in writing out what is on your mind in an effort to get shit done. Anything that helps reduce the niggling feeling of anxiety from having a lot on your plate is a welcome tool indeed.

Personally I often feel as though I am treading water when it comes to personal and work tasks, barely keeping my head above the surface as my brain is laden down with the volume that I need to do. Therein lies the rub. We too often think “I need to do this”, neglecting those tasks that may actually energise and motivate us to do more with our time. Instead we are caught up in chores/life necessities - The “need to dos”- which leave us with little time for larger ideas or projects that we want to do, that will add meaning to our lives.

My spin on traditional lists is not something that I include in my book, although lists do feature as part of the tools in my new sleep chapter (coming soon!) Nor is my spin anything groundbreaking (wow I am really selling this!) Instead it is a different way of acting on lists that will help anyone struggling mentally to enjoy the process.

Here’s how we can do that:

1. Get everything written out.

Anything that comes to mind is worth noting on your list in order to unburden yourself of it.

Need to wash your lucky pants? Write it down no matter how silly or enormous a task.

2. The spin.

Look at two tasks only:

  1. Choose a task that is easy to do such as ‘wash the dishes’.

  2. Choose one you want to do, such as ‘write for my book’.

3. Complete the easy task.

This is your warm up act. It should be so easy that you get it done quickly and could do more like it.

4. Take 10-15 mins for your want to do

Work on your want to do for only this time. I say this because it is likely to be a larger task or project that will take some time to complete.

5. Now take five

Take a moment to appreciate that you have completed something from your list and worked on your want to do. We bypass the self congratulations at times and end up in the overwhelm of what lies ahead. Take time to appreciate that you have ticked something off your list and you’ll feel energised to continue, rather than feel exhausted and hate the process.

Honestly that’s it for now. The idea is to make it so easy to work on your list that you want to do it everyday, thereby getting more done and worrying a whole let less. I certainly benefit from this approach because it still leaves me with time to do the things I enjoy without being bogged down by a huge list. Give it a go and see if it works for you, the worst that happens is that you complete that personal project you’ve always wanted to do, but never had time for ;)

Tom :)