Overwhelming Lists Go Mental

Some people make To Do lists as they help them manage their day, and/or their anxiety, and/or other illness(es).

To Do lists are a great way to get things done, to track progress, to keep things in perspective. Overwhelmingly, they are positive things. Except when taken to extremes. And that starts with the individual concept of “extreme”. What can the individual handle? What will trigger an attack?

Personally, I can handle a very long list while at the office and get everything done within a reasonable timeframe. Work accuracy hits 100% about 99% of the time.

Anyway, I recently tried making a list for the home — things that must be done. Using overall titles and breaking them down into their smaller components. Kept the list short. Cue “overwhelming list” issue anyway.

Too much. Too little time. Too much. Too little time. Rinse. Repeat.

On the list? Three (3) items, with 3 sub-items, each. So, a total of 9 items. Less than 10 shouldn’t cause a stir. Well, it resulted in a hurricane. Lovely.

So, I discarded the physically-written list technique for home; instead, I’ve kept a mental lists and have since managed to stay calm and get things done. A little day by day. Doesn’t look like much progress, but getting to the list involves self-motivation when there isn’t any on call. You have to unearth it, first. And if you want the permanent version, that takes time.

For me, there’s no short cut. It’s either do it properly the first time round, or waste time later doing all the little steps I skipped. Learned that lesson a long time ago. Doesn’t always work, but the reminder is there, whether or not I like it. Still, it serves me, well.

For example: Had to go out and get some finishing tools for Christmas presents I’m making. It took a couple of days to find the right motivation to go out and get them. But, I have what I need. And, after taking care of a few urgent things, I will finish the presents and get them to where they need to be.

So, the mental To Do list I used to get the finishing tools:

  • Get up at a decent time.
  • Do a few things (i.e., make a cup of tea, have a roll, do the dishes, clean out the litter trays.)
  • Get ready to go out.
  • Go out, but take my time about it (i.e., wait for the bus, and walk at a moderate pace as there’s no point rushing around, try to relax while in a crowd by focusing on what I need to find).
  • Go to a specific shop (which I didn’t find, but, I managed to return to a stall I usually go to and found the needed items there).
  • Consider items carefully — weigh their usefulness for the current and future projects — then purchase.
  • Get food.
  • Go home.
  • Relax.

Success rate? 100%

The next mental list involves a rather challenging task:

  • Get up at a decent time.
  • Do a few things (i.e., make a cup of tea, have a roll)
  • Write blog post.
  • Answer an email (i.e., answer the questions in the email by gathering the needed documents and writing a new one) — this one will take a few hours, so the challenge is here.
  • Finish Christmas presents.
  • Watch Supernatural — can do this at the same time while doing the above item.
  • Play Diablo III.

Success rate so far? 30%. A.K.A. First three items on the list.

Btw, no one said these lists have to be done in the order they’re presented. Sometimes, it makes sense to do so, but other times, it’s just whichever task pops up in the focus beam first. Only stipulation: Complete the list.

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Overwhelming Lists Go Mental

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