Self-Care Challenge (Day 333): Making Lists

a purple journal with a cup of coffee

I’m a list maker—admittedly, sometimes to a fault. I have to be careful not to spend so much time making lists that I run out of time to actually check anything off of them. My morning ritual has helped a lot with this, but making lists is important in another way too: it keeps me from feeling frazzled.

And for that reason, I consider it an act of self-care.

Some people have a great memory; their mind is like a steel trap. Mine? Not so much. If I don’t write it down, that fleeting thought is quickly replaced by another one…and another one…and another one. My brain is a virtual idea factory.

In fact, it’s often made me wish that there was a way to clear out all the useless information that’s stored in there, to make room for more important things. As nice as that may be, science reminds us that the brain has a finite capacity for memory. Mine just seems to be on the lower end of normal. And that’s why I’ve grown to love lists.

List-making prevents some pretty disastrous uh-ohs. Realizing that you’ve forgotten to turn off the coffee pot, feed your animals, or take out the garbage doesn’t bode well for a relaxing vacation. (Kevin McCallister’s family sure could have used a list or two.)

For me, lists are critical when I’m preparing to leave for a trip. Whether I’m gone for just a few days or an extended period of time, there are lots of things that need to get done in advance. Lists provide me with a safety net, helping to make sure important things don’t slip through the cracks–and that reduces my stress levels immensely.

How do you use lists to make your life better?

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