Master List to Control Stress

Stress is one of the things that seem to be at the top of the list for many of the people I know. Part of the reason for this stress is that our days just seem to escape with our not getting done what we want to do. Sometimes the reason we don’t get stuff done is that we just don’t want to face what we need to do, but part of the reason that we don’t get stuff done is that we just don’t remember.

Many people have tried to use a to-do list. Any to-do list should help you get what you want out of life. Another way to put it is that you should work your list, your list shouldn’t work you.

Some people use a to-do list and keep just one list. Sometimes that one list just keeps getting longer and longer until the length of the list is totally overwhelming. Each day or each morning, they either keep adding things on or they start a new list carefully copying all the undone items from the day before until the list becomes an unmanageable problem.

There are some things that can be done to help the long, unmanageable list not happen.

Think about keeping a master list Don’t put unnecessary things on the daily to do list Figure out how to format the daily to do list in a way that is meaningful to you Don’t let things become a crisis, try to work with them prior to that point Have a healthy reward system set up when you accomplish things that were hard to do.

What is a master list?

A master list often starts out as a list that is filled with things one needs or wants to do. The things can be short term or long term. Mine is currently divided into sections for business, personal, and necessary.

In the business section I might have things like write blog post, work on leadership training, check out a website, write an article, check article assignments, make a video, do research, or work on back-linking.

In my personal section, I list things that have to do with my growth as a person and enjoying life. My personal section contains things like read a book for fun, got to church, eat at McDonald’s, ride my motorcycle, post on Facebook, go for a swim, or a walk.

In the necessary section, I have things like pay my telephone bill, go grocery shopping, work on my motorcycle, do a load of laundry, go with my parents to dinner, blow leaves, paint the steps to my trailer, drink water and housecleaning.

In the past I had a section for volunteering. I no longer am doing any volunteer work, so currently that is not on my master list.

What is a daily to-do list?

A to-do list is a list of things to accomplish. Some people make a to-do list for a day, some make a to-do list for a week and some make it for a longer period of time. Whatever method you use, the to-do list shouldn’t be totally overwhelming. Some people use a combination of methods. Some just use a calendar.

The night before I look over my list from that day, decide whether I got the stuff on my list done enough for me to be able to let it go to where it doesn’t need to be moved to my master list. I try to not just transfer listed items from my daily to-do list to another daily to-do list. When I do that, my to-do list always seems to grow to unmanageable proportions.

Then after checking my calendar for the day, I start to go down the Master List for the best options of things to put on my daily to-do list.

The way I decide if something is one of the best options to go on my to-do list is that I check to make sure that the item is able to help me meet one of the goals on my recovery plan.

How to create a to-do list using a master list.

Put everything that is in your head or on a large pad of paper or in a word document that you can dedicate to a master list. I like putting it in a computer document, but still like to print it off so I can add to it if my computer isn’t handy.

The Master List contains the stuff you have to do that often stays in your head, the things that you need or want to do. It can be as long or as short as you need it to be. My master list started out shorter with bullet points, but now has evolved into more.

Some people divide their master list up into sections, like for work, play, maintenance stuff, etc.

A Master List can contain

Weekly shopping trips

Getting the oil in your car changed

Create your own personalized master list. On it list what you want to do, have to do or need to do. I t can include things like appointments, cooking dinner, whatever you want. The master list may be huge. You want to put stuff down on it so you don’t forget it.

Before you go to bed, or first thing in the morning create a daily list of what you would like to have happen, what you would like to do or where you would like to go. It’s a daily to-do list. Many of the things may come off your master list.

Use your to-do list to get what you want done, done. So you don’t forget anything.

Check the list out a couple of times during the day to make sure you are getting the important things done, not just the unimportant, easy things. When there are things that are important but not urgent, if you can take care of them ahead of time, they will help you stay on top of things.

Feel free to take stuff off the master list if it will not help you get where you want to be in your recovery journey.

Keep the daily list short. We have all felt overwhelmed and frustrated when our lives have been taken over by what we don’t want and need. Being totally overwhelmed isn’t something that any of us need. Remember the kaizen principles [link to small changes] and take small steps towards getting a better life.

Celebrate what you did that worked. Or celebrate just trying to make your life better.

When you go over your master list, check for any urgent things that need to happen (think pay the electric bill or see the psychiatrist). Make sure these get moved onto the daily list if they need to happen that day.

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