Everyone can relate to feeling swamped, overworked, and stressed on a daily basis. Between loads of laundry, financial woes, and planning dinners/quality time with friends and family, life can get awful hectic when it really shouldn’t be. Our mental health is so important, especially in a time where the digital world can negatively impact our overall well being. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
At the beginning of 2018, I promised myself I would write a to-do list every week. As a frequent anxiety-ridden adult, I needed a new plan of action to help ease my mind. Although I knew I wouldn’t accomplish everything on it, I still wanted something tangible that would hold me accountable for the tasks I often put off or never make a priority in my life. After picking out a cute notebook to accompany my new weekly promise, I soon fell in love with writing to-do lists.
(If you hate writing in notebooks, utilize the “notes” or “reminders” apps in your phone for more on-the-go accessibility to your list!)
What I put on it:
Your to-do list can include whatever you want it to. Mine is everything you can think of and more. Some tasks include: laundry (bathroom towels, gym clothes, sheets), write a blog post, hang up wall art, drop clothes off at goodwill, clean makeup brushes, read two chapters in my book, send my mom a thank you card, and the list goes on (literally). Anything that’s floating around in my head, I make sure to write down, or I’ll forget and never do it.
How I follow it:
Every morning before work, I check out my list while doing my hair and makeup. I read it over and think about what I can possibly get done that day; mail out a birthday card or even pick up groceries to cook dinner. I grab anything I need to get that task done and put it in my car/purse so I have it with me. Being prepared also prevents the excuse of “Oh, I don’t have it so I can’t do it today.” At the end of the day before bed, I read through my list and cross off anything I’ve accomplished and add/edit to the list if need be.
Why it changed my life:
After following the list routine for about a month or so I found myself accomplishing more in a day than I ever thought I could. None of these tasks felt stressful or added any serious time onto my day. Everything seemed so miniscule after I checked it off and went on with my day.
Writing a list and following through made me care more for myself and the people around me. Oftentimes, it’s easy to forget to pamper yourself, so every time I write a to-do list I make sure to add more than one task for me. Whether it’s reading a book, changing my bed sheets, or putting on a face mask, something on my list should provide me with a feeling of care and happiness. Having a list made me think more about my family and reminded me to send cards, or call them more, or anything else involving keeping in touch with family and friends.
I also put my career to the forefront of my mind. I found my love for reading and writing again by allowing myself the time to do both every week. By writing down things I needed to get done outside of work, I felt more productive when I sat down at my desk every morning, knowing I’m fully prepared for the workday ahead of me.
To-do lists are now my favorite thing to do on Sunday nights, because I get to assess what I’ve accomplished and decide what fun things I’m going to get done this week. Life should never feel like a hassle, instead, you should feel empowered and happy.
By: Abbey Adams
Abbey currently works at a digital marketing company while also maintaining her music blog (blondieandthebeat.com) of six years. Throughout her time as a freelance writer for a women’s magazine she’s learned to share every story and empower as many women as possible. You can usually find her writing in bed under Christmas lights or at the gym sweating out her stress on the elliptical.