Beautiful Benefits From To-Do LIsts & HOw They Can Change Your Life

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Disclaimer: Although I am a mental health professional, all information and reflections are meant for educational purposes only. If you plan to make changes in your life, it may be worth consulting with loved ones and/or your wellness team. Also, this post may contain affiliate links for products and when making a purchase through those links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Okay, folks, it is time for me to spread the word that To-Do Lists are not just meant for reminders!

Learn 5 beautiful benefits from to-do lists and how they literally change your life.

Let me say that again, To-Do Lists are more than just writing the things you need to remember.

Intro

Now, if I have nearly lost you, is it because you do not like writing lists?

Well, honey, I’ve likely heard every excuse, but want to validate your feelings.

– Some people have expressed that if they do not complete the list, it leads to feelings of failure or disappointment.

– Others are reluctant to have any form of schedule due to their sporadic lifestyle and feel confined by it.

– Some feel they do not have additional time to spend on making one.

– The simple, “I just don’t want to” is a reasonable response, as well!

Before you throw away the notepad, I want you to make a fully informed rejection of the idea. Do you experience anxiety or depression?

Are you feeling out of sorts after a life event, such as a break-up or job loss? What I know about these circumstances is the chaos that is usually swirling around in the mind.  Wouldn’t it be nice to find some organization in the disorder and confusion?

Take a peek at the reasoning to give To-Do Lists a try below.

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Benefits of To-Do Lists

Take a peek at the reasoning to give To-Do Lists a try below.

Goal Writing

Making a plan to complete some tasks is literally creating a list of mini goals.

I have an agenda where I write down the list of things I would like to complete during the day. This gives some structure and a helpful reminder. I do this during my Morning Routine.

All of the points lead to a desired outcome, such as a cleaner home, completing a school assignment or strengthening relationships. Although I use an agenda, I do not put down the times for when to do the activities unless they are a scheduled appointment or event.

Overall though, I keep some flexibility to help fight against those feelings of restriction I mentioned earlier. 

Goals help us stay focused and when you look at the big picture of a future you find appealing, you realize pretty quickly that a lot of small steps need accomplished to reach it.

Form of Journalling

When hearing the word “journaling,” do you automatically assume the worth is related to writing down your emotions and thoughts?

Although journaling is a fantastic method of coping with stressors, for those of us who are more “solution focused,” having a to-do list is a way of organizing our lives.

Certain undertakings are extremely unattractive or downright uncomfortable to face, but if they are things that can’t be avoided forever, you can spread out the difficult stuff over multiple days. 

When done, you get to rock a sense of accomplishment!

The best part of this is the limited amount of time it takes! Some people spend a quick few minutes planning their day, while others strategize their weeks or months in advance. 

Could this make those who are afraid of the time consumption slightly more intrigued? The day may even have a better flow if you do not have to organize things on the fly!

Improves Sleep

A racing mind when trying to sleep is a common complaint of those who suffer from insomnia.

According to a study from 2018 (Scullin et al.), people don’t only overthink about the past, but also worry about future tasks. Not too surprising, many of the errands revolve around work responsibilities.

Incomplete tasks or anticipation of what needs done can lead to an overactive thought process.

There is research evidence showing that people who wrote a to-do list at bedtime were found to fall asleep faster than those who did not.

The study I am referring to did not use participants with severe sleep problems, but it still shows that it’s not a bad idea to add list making to your pre sleep routine!

A Visualization of Your Accomplishments

There is something purely glorious when you slide a marker across a page to celebrate completing each goal.

That additional satisfaction, although small, helps brighten my day. This feeling is also possible if you’ve written you goals on a whiteboard or chalk board and you get to erase the tasks one by one.

If you are a visual person, I highly recommend checking out Bullet Journaling to further you progress for keeping on track. You get to create your own template of reaching your goals and making your lists. (I will have a blog post on this).

Now, for those of you who get the feelings of defeat if you do not accomplish everything on your list, do not beat yourself up!

There are many times I do not get everything done that I planned to. Maybe something took longer than expected, another priority popped up or I became far to mentally and physically drained to put out additional energy.

There is nothing stopping me from moving the task to a future date.  If it is something that I realize I deliberately avoided, there is time to reflect on the why.

Reflection Questions
  • Is there something else you could do before the task that would make things easier or feel more prepared?
  • Did you overestimate your capabilities and need to make shorter lists for better time management?
  • Is there a reason that errand or conversation is so difficult?

We are human and it is okay if your list is incomplete, but if you are struggling, seeking additional support from a friend or professional may help you defeat whatever list item that is troubling you.

Schedule Self-Care

How often in the busyness of life do you forget to do something specifically for you?

If the answer is “all of the time,” then it is time to start adding a couple of self-care activities during the week.

These can be anything that sparks some joy in your life and can be any length of time.

Just remember that pleasure is just as important as all of the other emotions in our repertoire and you deserve to have happy experiences!

Want and added benefit? Write 3 Things That Went Well During Your Day every evening. Read Here for More Gratitude Information!

Insight

So, there you have it, my lengthy love of to-do listing.

You have to admit that I have made some valid points, and really, you get to design one however you see fit. Maybe you have learned the beautiful benefits from to-do lists and how they can change your life.

It is worth giving a try, even if you are feeling skeptical.

Because of the many benefits I have mentioned above, why not?

Activity

How to Get Started:

Purchase a notebook, agenda or sticky note pad. If you are more of a technology person, get a list app or use your notes to save your to-dos.

Set an alarm around the time you go to bed to remind you to write your list.

The following night, review your list and cross off the completed activities. If there is anything left over, write them on the list for the next day.

Reflect on why you missed some of the list items. Do not be unkind to yourself, just consider what roadblocks interfered and how you will be better equipped the next day.

Reference

Scullin, M. K., Krueger, M. L., Ballard, H. K., Pruett, N., & Bliwise, D. L. (2018). The effects of bedtime writing on difficulty falling asleep: A polysomnographic study comparing to-do lists and completed activity lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General147(1), 139–146. https://doi-org.libraryservices.yorkvilleu.ca/10.1037/xge0000374

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