Often enough, as students, we say “ugh, and I have to do this, too” after we realize we have a paper due, an assignment to submit, and a pre-class quiz to complete. We can experience high stress, and anxiety levels from procrastination, or disorganization. There is a tool we can use to cure us of our woes – a list. I mean, have you ever tried to go grocery shopping without a list? I have, and let me tell you, there is always something I forget to buy. Not only will a list help you complete tasks, there are health benefits to increase your overall quality of life.
Let’s start with the obvious:
1. Decreased stress levels, increased brainpower:
When we use a list, it allows us to control information. When we are overloaded with due dates, it can be hard to keep track, and remember. Writing down tasks allows us to control that information, and reduce the anxiety associated with “all the things I have to remember”. As your life becomes more organized, and less stressed, your ability to focus increases (read a brief scholarly review here: http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v10/n6/abs/nrn2639.html). The benefits of being less stressed include a stronger immune system, fewer feelings of depression, better cardiovascular health, and an overall more enjoyable life. Doesn’t that sound fab?
Life becomes a lot easier when we have a system. Making a list of objectives, and planning when they need to be completed makes things a lot easier to complete on time. If you make a list of the general objectives you need to get done, go one step further, and list the steps you will take to complete the tasks. You have a paper due in a week? What days will you research, and write out which sections? This makes it hella easy to beat procrastination.
When your stress level is decreased, and your organization is increased, generally, you complete more things. How good does it feel when you’ve typed the last sentence of a paper? Or when you can hit submit to that math assignment? Imagine at the end of the day looking at your list of tasks, and seeing a majority, if not all of your tasks checked off. When you realize how much you have completed within a day, your self-esteem increases. Do I really need to explain the benefits of having good self-esteem?
So, now that you know the benefits of writing down a simple list, what are you going to do?
Go buy an agenda. Do it now, big or small. Just make sure you do it. Write your first list, and stick to it. Write your second list. Then your third, and fourth. See the benefits for yourself!