My anxiety was fueling my lists, then my lists were fueling my anxiety. It was a vicious cycle and got to a point where I would lash out at my family when I was overwhelmed with the amount of stuff on my list and no time to do it. I got to the point where I wrote EVERYTHING on my list, from every day things to outrageously high targets –
- feed baby,
- nap time,
- wash bottles,
- phone my friend,
- go to the gym,
- write a blog,
- start a business,
- learn to sew,
- do an online course…
Everyday I’d end up feeling miserable about the amount of stuff that I didn’t get done and kept moving them onto the next day’s list.
My anxiety was getting to a peak and I couldn’t cope. I was extremely paranoid that I’d forget something vitally important, especially to do with my son, what if I forgot to feed him or that it was time for him to sleep…
I eventually worked out that my list writing was actually causing me more anxiety than helping me. So I decided to take off anything that was a goal or target for myself. I realised that if it was something I really wanted to do – I probably wouldn’t forget about it. I’ve learnt to go gently and not place ridiculously high expectations on myself. I’m raising a baby and that takes an enormous amount of time and energy. I learnt to concerntrate on my son and if I did forget anything he’d probably let me know. Plus, if the washing didn’t get done, it’s wasn’t the end of the world, I would realise when I didn’t have any clothes to wear and that it’s time to do some washing!
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe lists are an excellent tool, if used in the right way. A friend recently told me about a really nice way that she organises her lists, so I thought I’d have a go at creating my own.
Basically, instead of just scribbling over things on your list as they get done (which I always did, to the point that what was under the scribble could not be read), you can use a whiteboard and wipe off the job you’ve competed and move it to a list called Done. This gives you a sense of achievement as your To Do list gets shorter and the Done list gets longer.
I created this one with an old photo frame and some washi tape (available at craft shops). My son is too young but this could also be a way to record jobs that your kids have done. They can feel a sense of achievement as they move things from the To Do side to the Done side.
2 thoughts on “To-do lists: fueling my anxiety”
This is excellent advice. I’ve seen people overwhelmed by the enormity of their to do list until it crushes them into inaction and then fuels the anger that there is always so much to do.
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Totally – it can be an awful feeling. I’m so glad I made these realisations before it go too much. Thanks for reading.
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