I suffer from anxiety, and I also run two one-person businesses. Anxiety often results in procrastination, while my ambition demands that I do more and more.
This has lead to a love/hate relationship with to do lists. Mainly hate. Whilst I wander around like a balloon without a string, bumping into stuff and getting stuff done mainly by accident.
I’ve tried everything, but I think I’ve finally found the solution. For me, anyway.
Some people call it Brain Dumping, but I’ve also heard that same term refer to what I’ve always called ‘Morning Pages’, as described in the Artist’s Way. The form of Brain Dumping I’m referring to is creating a Master To Do list.
And by master, I do mean master. I have a huge notebook wholly devoted to this task. Since mid-February when I started, this master to do list now stretches nine A5 pages. And I feel fine about it.
Because the point of the master book is to write down every task as soon as I think of it, whether it’s something I need to do today or in six months. Then it’s out of my head and in a place where I know I will check.
Then every day, whenever I’m about to start work, I look through the book and choose which tasks I need to complete, and, if I like, write a separate to do list for that day.
I pick all the time limited ones first. Then, if there’s time and energy, I pick either to block out some time for a larger project, or blast through a few small tasks.
In the afternoon, I can see how much energy I have and possibly pick one or two more tasks, or not. I know I will already have completed time limited tasks earlier in the day, so my anxiety is limited in its chances to strike.
I’m gonna be posting another update on this to see if it still works in six months, but I’m very happy with my progress so far.