After last weekend’s relaxation time, I was worried this weekend would be more of the same. I find that sometimes it is hard to get back into the swing of things after having a taste of leisure. This is where the downward spiral of depression hits many of us: you know there is much to do, but wasn’t last weekend nice? All that relaxing? So you put off another weekend of work until the next, which accumulates with a load of other tasks that you need to get done. By the next weekend, the tasks are starting to get overwhelming and when faced with that, most people don’t do anything at all, myself included. Procrastination sets in because everybody thinks they won’t have time to finish all of these tasks. This, of course, makes me feel depressed and lazy, which is an irrational reaction, but one that can’t be helped.
Over the last year, I have been writing out a to-do list everyday on Post-its at work. I break bigger projects out into daily tasks, and I just go at it. I also know that I am more productive in the afternoon – this is when I focus much of my activity. This has been not only a productivity enhancer for myself, but also a stress-reliever. I feel much more in control of my day, and since control is a big issue for me, I therefore am more relaxed. Not to mention the great feeling of accomplishment!
However, for some reason, I have never done this at home for my weekend tasks! I always have felt that your weekend should just “happen,” but I realized that I was not getting as much done as I knew I could. By doing a weekend list, I was betting I could get much more done and still have time to relax on top of it all.
I wrote a to-do list out for this weekend’s tasks. I had about 20 things that I had to get done and only two days to do it. I got all but one completed. It was one of those head-smacking moments – why hadn’t I been doing this before?! I’ve always been able to get a good amount of work done on the weekend, but to only have one little task left on Monday morning is a fantastic feeling to wake up to.
The only real hard part of the to-do list is to not set up an impossible to-do list. Don’t try to do more than you can do in a day comfortably, because it will just make you feel even more lazy. For example, I would never write this:
Mowing the lawn and washing the car can be long, labor-intensive activities, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to write a 24 page comic and build a website on top of that. A more realistic list would be:
With this list, I can actually do all of these. Also note the leisure activity – smoke a cigar. Smoking a cigar takes at least an hour, even though it is relaxing. So I factored that in, because there are only so many hours in the day. The plus side is that I can write 5 pages and smoke a cigar at the same time if I cared to, but usually when I smoke, I just sit outside and enjoy nature.
So next time you are overwhelmed, try out the to-do list, and for those more web-inclined, you may want to try on a Ta-Da List. Ironically, I like the feeling of writing it out, crossing the items off and crumpling up the list to toss in the trash, but hey, whatever works!
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