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The Stress Factor–Lists, Lists, Lists

Mostly I make lists for projects. This can be daunting. Breaking something big into its constituent parts will help you organize your thoughts, but it can also force you to confront the depth of your ignorance and hugeness of the task. That’s OK. The project may be the lion, but the list is your whip.

-Adam Savage, Co-host of MythBusters and Unchained Reaction

Lists – Your Very Own Handy-Dandy Stress Reducer

Overstress is no small matter. One of the quickest stress – reliever techniques is to create a list. Do you not often get bogged down by your over-packed schedule? As I sit down and list each one, my stress level immediately drops. Why?

  • Mental Energy Reliever: The effort to keep track of every disparate project on your desk has your brain spinning in high-gear striving to keep track of everything. Simply by writing your thoughts down, you permit your brain to move on to either relax or concentrate on more crucial activities such as getting something done!
  • Mini-Planning: A list provides visual clarity. It is you proactively pre-planning your tasks. Hopefully, you will create lists based upon priorities—not every willy-nilly thought that passes your mind. Creating lists upon lists with no discernment will only add stress to your life—not diminish it!
  • Satisfaction: I do not know about you, but I do get a real sense of satisfaction as I check item after item off my list. In today’s business world, any tangible—no matter how small—result completed offers a sense of fulfillment is a good thing as well as a stress reducing thing.

If you are someone vigilantly adhering to your list, change your attitude. While there is no question that creating lists is a stress reducer, you have to be gentle with yourself. Interacting from a fluid, flexible point of view is a healthy, stress-free approach. A rigid attitude that has you persisting against all odds as you diligently attempt to complete each item no matter what else is going on defeats the purpose. Such an attitude is guaranteed to up your stress level rather than calm it down.

By the way, your list-making habit will lead to being noticed by your company as a high potential employee. Why? You will radiate the quiet center of a leader as your produce more with better results. How is that for a gift? And it all originates from your choice to be exceptional and to selectively keep key tasks top of mind.

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