Have you ever been paralyzed with anxiety? You have so much to do and not enough time; or you don’t even know where to start. When I feel like this, I need to organize my thoughts and make a list. I know what you may be saying, I don’t have time for that! Trust me, you don’t have time for anxiety and this is your ticket out of that. I remember as a child seeing my mother with lists. I thought this was boring because I assumed she wasn’t having fun. Now as an adult I see the list for what it is, a gateway to freedom, satisfaction and fun!
What you’ll need to start:
A timer, notebook paper, construction paper, a whiteboard or a legal pad, and your favorite writing utensil.
7 Step System for Success:
1. Set a timer for five minutes and prepare to write.
2. Start the timer and jot down every to-do you can think of, in no particular order and without regard for importance or difficulty. Examples: feed the dog, paint the house, pay the bills, buy a gift, start a blog…all that pops into your mind. Keep going.
3. Rest your hand, then get three sheets of paper or divide a whiteboard into three sections.
Section 1: Dream List
Tasks completed over the next year or two.
Section 2: 30-Day List
Tasks to accomplish in the next month.
Section 3: Action List
Tasks you must accomplish today.
4. Assign each task from your list to one of these categories.
5. Start doing and marking off today’s items like a boss! You’ll feel a great power of momentum.
6. Tomorrow, create a new Action List from your 30-Day List, and keep carrying items over for the 30 day period.
7. Monthly, re-evaluate the 30-Day and Dream Lists and move items into their new category so you regularly accomplish things and stop living in analysis paralysis.
Be cognizant of your time available each day.
Determine how many hours you can devote to your work and break it down. For instance, I spend 30 hours a week marketing, seeing clients, offering free consultations, writing my blog, and continuing education.
Make a healthy 30-Day List.
Be kind to yourself and allow moments for family and friends. Start with a feeling. How do you want to feel in 30 days? What do you want to most accomplish in the small amount of time available to you?
What things could you cut out? Late night Facebook scrolling? Mindless TV shows? Determine what adds value and joy to your life, and set out to accomplish those things.
What if I don’t know where something should go?
If you aren’t sure, then it’s definitely not an action list item. Ask yourself, “What are the consequences if I don’t accomplish this in 30 days?” If there aren’t any, put it on the dream list.
What if I have too many items on my Action List?
Think deeply about each item. Do they HAVE to be accomplished today or can they wait until tomorrow or even later? What is the urgency you feel to complete this task? Another option is creating an Action List for a 3-day block, if extra time helps you prioritize. I list everything personal and business, so my list can be fairly long. I have to have a brain dump all in one place or my anxiety will creep back in.