When there is a lot of leisure time on your hands, human nature has the proclivity to use that time irresponsibly — setting you back further than you ever thought free time could. As a student, a nurse, a parent, an entrepreneur, or anyone else full of ambition but also seeking a work/life balance, you likely know the feeling.
If this is you, though, a weekly task list or schedule may be the very thing that takes you from scattered and panicked to centered and productive. It’s easy to keep making leisure time in these positions if you allow yourself, but no one is accountable for your success or failure in any area of life except for you. For the packed life of a nurse, for example, one must find the time and strength to tend to multiple patients in the day, assist doctors and colleagues and keep track of patient’s progress, all while finding the time to cook and eat healthily, pay bills on time, shop for cute new seasonal scrubs and have a social life. Sometimes it may feel like there are not enough hours in the day — but that’s guaranteed if you use them irresponsibly. From putting a bit of stress on you and holding you accountable to relieving the stress by being rewarding, a weekly tasks list is essential if your life goal list includes excelling.
1. It Creates Clarity
Life can feel like a never-ending cycle of chaos, and so can trying to keep up with it — let alone accomplishing daily tasks within it. This can leave you burning out fast, but keeping candlelit can be as simple as searching for some clarity in what needs to be accomplished. Nurses, in particular, should understand the need for the organization due to the multitasking that is required in the workplace when dealing with multiple patients, prescriptions, doctors’ instructions, and more! The same method can be applied to creating a list of tasks to accomplish for the week in your personal life, though, and the result can be just as incredible.
Roles like these are living proof that when you create a structure for what needs to be done, it eliminates distractions, improves your ability to prioritize, and increases your chances of success. Along with creating organization and order overall in your life, a weekly tasks list can allow you to clarify and better organize specific tasks. If you’re the nurse we mentioned above, for instance, a weekly task list may help you realize as your scrub shopping day approaches that you don’t know your size! From here, you can add an accurate scrub size chart to your list alongside the task and have it ready when you need it!
2. It Keeps You Accountable
In studies, those who took physical notes, either traditionally through means of pen and paper or electronically via computer and keyboard, were able to answer questions more accurately than those who didn’t. We tend to burn into our brains what we write down with a pen on paper a little better, so, while it may sound dated, a traditional to-do list may make the difference that you need to make tasks stick in your memory. This isn’t to say that creating a spreadsheet or sticking to an electronic calendar won’t get this job done — but there’s something about the authenticity of writing down your goals that creates a sense of intimacy and order with the task at hand. Once you’ve taken the time to write your list and confirm that you CAN do this and it’s set in stone as much as it’s set in your mind, you may find yourself more committed to it and apply more effort toward it to avoid letting yourself down.
3. It Helps You Identify Priorities
You have no idea the new priorities that may present themselves throughout the day, but you should know by now that you can’t just continuously drop tasks because something new has come up. Having a to-do list will allow you to scan and analyze your tasks on a grand scale to decide what requires urgent attention and what can wait until later in the week. This will place things into perspective and help you avoid putting your precious time and energy into things that you feel pressure from but aren’t high on the list of priorities!
4. It Dictates What You Delegate
While “if you want something done right, do it yourself” may hold some value, it’s important to remember that you can’t do it all — and even if you can do it all, you absolutely shouldn’t! While the intention is noble, the result is almost always not! Especially without a task list, this sort of ambition and control can lead to an alarming level of burnout. Delegating tasks to others will be the key to avoiding these detrimental effects of overworking and can even help you to improve your ability to prioritize your tasks as you decide what gets delegated.
5. It’s Rewarding and Stress-Relieving
Anyone juggling a lot of responsibility knows how rewarding it feels to get through a task that’s been taunting you and seeming impossible — let alone a whole list! For a nurse, this could look like reserving the time to get their favorite scrub pants for work in the wash and breathing a breath of relief. For single parents with so much to complete in a week, this could look like restoring order to their living space and lifting a huge weight off their shoulders. No matter what it looks like, though, it feels like pure rewarding relief!
6. It’s the Start of Something Good
No matter what your role and what you do, accomplishing the tasks you set out to complete for yourself can be so fulfilling that it’s linked to dopamine release accompanied by serious feelings of fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness.
More often than not, this rush of positive emotion will also trigger the best thing of all — the inspiration and ambition to accomplish more tasks!