A Facebook friend of mine posted about her new method for handling her anxiety levels, routines, and to-do lists. Through organizing my priorities and detailing my tasks, and sorting them into a simple task tracker, I hope to turn her idea into something that helps with my own anxiety (which has been at high levels for a few weeks). It’s too easy to get caught up in all of the things I didn’t accomplish in a day, and I think tracking my tasks will help me focus on the fact that I can and do get things done.
- Write a list of all of the things you need to do, want to do, and wish you had time to do in a normal week. (Don’t include things like “travel to Spain”, this isn’t a bucket list!)
- Separate your to-do list into categories (examples include: self-care, career, social life, hobbies).
- Rank those categories by importance. Breaking down your list of tasks this way will help you prioritize and make time for the things you wished you had time for! (Accomplish the necessities earlier, and you’ll have time for more fun things.)
- Physical Health — shower, take a bath, wash hair, wash face, do a face mask, manicure, pedicure, shave, wax, go to the gym, go to the pool
- Household — cat litter, dishes, clean bathroom, vacuum, laundry, wash bedding
- Hobbies — write, design, code, read, crosswords
There are some things I haven’t listed because they are already part of my routine (i.e. feeding my cat, spending time with my partner, going to work). However, if those are the sorts of things you need help solidifying into your routine, add them! There’s nothing wrong with bulking up your to-do list so that you have more to cross off. 😉
Other category ideas: mental health, work, outdoor time, social life
Now that we have a list that’s fancily categorized and ranked by priority, how should we put it to use? Not all of our items need to be done daily, after all, so how will we organize when things get done?
I’ve turned my list into a monthly tracker inspired by bullet journal trackers (examples: one, two, three). However, as I was pressed for time (and at work and a bit lazy and not feeling particularly hands-on creative at the moment), I made a spreadsheet to print off, fold up, and keep in my purse. It isn’t the prettiest, but it will (I hope) get the jobs done! If it works, I’ll make something nicer for September.
Other implementation ideas: digital spreadsheet (no printing!), plan your tasks in your agenda/calendar of choice and check them off as you complete them, create a bullet journal tracker (so pretty!)
Rewards System: While this isn’t mandatory (nothing in this post is mandatory), a rewards system could help incentivize and keep you accountable. Use your to-do list or task tracker to set (and accomplish) your goals. Set up rewards for yourself to celebrate all of the amazing things you get done! Make sure your rewards are fairly specific so that you don’t go overboard. (If you’re like me, you’re on a tight budget, and while rewards don’t have to cost money to be worthwhile, it’s good to keep costs in mind.) Also, you don’t need to list a goal/reward for every single task, but it is helpful to do so for the tasks you find particularly challenging to keep up with. Examples:
- Goal: Do laundry once a week for the entire month. Reward: One new top! (<$20)
- Goal: Wash face daily for the entire month. Reward: New lipstick!
- Goal: Gym twice a week for the entire month. Reward: Dessert!
- Goal: Write 15 blog posts (of original content). Reward: New book! (<$10)
I’m starting my task tracker a little late, but it’s early enough in the month that I can go back and fill in the days I’ve missed. Don’t let the date or the day put you off from starting something! (Whether it’s a task tracker, a new workout routine, kicking a bad habit — go for it!) I’ll update you on how this went at the end of the month.
In the meantime, how do you manage your stress? If anxious, what are your favorite ways to ease that anxiety? Do you like making lists?
Thanks for reading!