Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed with the amount that we have to do and remember. Getting into the habit of making daily ‘to-do’ lists may seem simple thinking, but you’ll be surprised at just how helpful it can be.
We use a notebook, crossing off the items as we go and creating a new ‘to-do’ list every evening, ready for the next day. We create an eight square grid and use the following headings from our FLOURISH model:
- F – Friends (anything to do with social acquaintances)
- L – Love (anything to do with your partner)
- O – Occupation (any ‘work’ that you need to do)
- U – Usual environment (anything to do with your home and its surroundings)
- R – Relatives (anything to do with your family – children, parents, siblings etc.)
- I – Income (anything you need to do with relations to your finances)
- S – Spare time (any plans you have for your free time today)
- H – Health (anything you want to do today to improve your health and wellbeing)
Breaking down your to-do list in this way is useful because it gets you to consider balanced picture and prompts you to consider and note down everything that you have to do.
Why it works:
Many of us have masses to do and we try and remember it, thinking we don’t need to write any of it down. By trying to remember, we are forcing our short-term memory to be involved. However the capacity of our short-term memory is extremely limited and trying to remember too much can be stressful. By making a habit of writing your to do list down, you are relieving your brain of the need to keep so much information in short term memory. And you may have noticed that crossing items off your to-do list feels great too – when we anticipate and complete things which we expect will give us benefit, we get a surge of the chemical dopamine in our head, which makes us feel good. This is a powerful ‘reward drug’ that shapes our behaviour to take action that will be beneficial. So keep completing and crossing off those items – you could get quite addicted to it!