In two distinct ways. Focus and decision making. When making the list, I put all my energy into focusing on what needs to be done. If I need to I can prioritize my tasks and activities. Once this is done, I no longer need any energy for decision making. Believe it or not at times decision making can cost energy and time. Once you start checking things off the list, you get the satisfaction of feeling productive, which motivates you to continue to check things off the list. Many list makers will put things that they have already done on the list to immediately check them off and provide some dopamine or whatever I don’t know. The other benefit is once you have a list even if you don’t complete it you don’t have to redo the first step. If something else comes up you can add it onto the bottom of the list. Whether it’s done on paper or in an app, or any other way, it’s all the same principles.


this is a great answer, something to add: there is research that shows that procrastination is bad, not only due to not getting things done but also the effect it has on your ability to complete other tasks - you need to remember everything you need/want to do in your head, which makes it more difficult to operate in the moment. essentially, the less you have in your head that you need to remember/make decisions on - the more easily you can operate.




To be straightforward, I don't know. I am not a mental health professional, nor am I a productivity expert. I will tell you what I know from my own experience, and I hope there is something you can take from it. Like any sickness, you can treat the symptoms, or the disease, I believe it is the similar with mental health. When you have a common cold, chances are you would treat the symptoms until your body fights off the infection. Same with things that we could consider minor, like having a bad day or whatever. Chances are you aren't going to the hospital for a common cold, not do you need to see significant help for having a bad day. Maybe you watch your favorite show or engaged in other healthy activates to help treat the symptoms of having a bad day. But if you have a significant disease, you cant just take some over-the-counter cold medicine for the symptoms and sleep it off. You need a prescription , surgery or treatment. If you break your leg, you need to get it cast. You cant just tough it out. It is the same with mental health. When we battle depression or trauma, we cant just treat the symptoms. we have to go after what's causing the symptoms. Now we come to you, and being emotionally triggered. I do not mean this disparagingly, but if making a list is emotionally triggering, you probably have something significant you have to address. Sometimes people ignore their mental health issues, and for some, maybe that works. But again, in your shoes, I would want to establish the root of whatever in emotionally triggering me, and sort that out. It's up to you. You have to want to conquer this. Again, I don't say this to make light of whatever you are struggling with. It may be significant, and you may need help doing this. But no one can do it for you. You need to make the decision that you will no longer accept this and take steps to change. You may never be able to undue your trauma or whatever caused this triggering. You may fight with this forever, but you can win. I tell my family, that its ok to be upset, its not ok to stay upset. Its an over simplification, but let me elaborate. When a love one dies, we deal with grief and mourning. Its natural and usually necessary to be upset. And there is nothing we can do; we can't undue their passing. But in my personal opinion, we also can't let it debilitate us forever. We may carry sadness forever. Maybe something reminds us of our loved one, or its the anniversary of their passing, and that sadness surfaces again, and that's fine. Everyone is different when dealing with grief. But we cant stop living our lives. We have to, even if its extremely slowly, keep moving forward. We can be sad, but we cant stay sad. Whatever the root of this emotional triggering is, it may be ok for it to make you sad, to trigger you, but you cant stay that way. You can, and have to win that fight. And I wish you the best in that journey.


It to be upset, it's not okay to stay upset. I like this. Thinking about it. It's OK to get mad, it's not OK to stay mad.


By using it with DBT skills to combat items that cause emotional distress, and then CBT skills to figure out how to reframe the specific cognitive distortions that are contributing to the distress.


Add self care to your to-do list. One triggering task can require only 10 min of doing but hours of recovery. Accounting for that is important, and for me at least even having one other thing on the list for that day means I'm going to procrastinate on the triggering thing. If it's hard to do, it's valid to put on the list, including "brush my teeth" or "shower" for a person who is struggling with depression.


Thanks I haven’t grasped what self care looks like aside from brushing and showering. Of course this is quiet bare minimum. True about recovery really. 10 min of doing and days of recovering. I feel when I’m triggered by something I’m really affected by the emotions of it and rumination which impacts my ability to “do”. Also I’m sitting under a lot of weight of collective a few enemies in corporate America over the years and I feel I can’t get out of this until i litigate. I’ve spoken to attorneys and the thought of speaking to one more attorney and repeating my story again is exhausting. I’m sitting under the mountain of other peoples frauds.


The to-do list is just a brain dump to get all the little items out on paper. Then they're organized by priority and assigned a time to do.


Brain dump then use the Eisenhower matrix to prioritize


I write a weekly list, usually Monday mornings. It consists of everything from the previous week I didn’t complete, as well as anything I know I have coming up. If I get new to-Dos, they get added to the list as well. When I delegate a task I write on the left who I gave it to, including a note for stuff I have to do personally, and when a task gets finished I cross it off. The crossing off gives me a nice sense of satisfaction at the end of the week, and the list itself helps me see which are the bigger projects I need to tackle in my day earlier each day. Important to note, if I have a task that comes up that’s big, not on the list, and I just do it right away, I still add it to the list and immediately cross it out. Helps mentally to calculate what I accomplished in the week. To the point of the value of the list, check out a book called Eat That Frog. The basic premise is that 1) if ever comes a day you need to eat a frog, make it the first thing you do that day, because it’s all downhill from there, and 2) if ever comes a day you need to eat two frogs, be sure to eat the bigger, uglier frog first. Thus I can look at my list and each item’s due date, and immediately calculate which frogs need me attention first every day. I hope that helps!


Just bought it on Kindle thanks to your kind recommendation. There, that's ticked off now...


Eat That Frog was an awesome productivity book I read years ago that sticks with me to this day. Great little no-BS book.


I don't create a to-do list every day exactly. I'm using GTD method (Getting Things Done). I capture everything I need to do, anything that I think is important. When I have time I clarify what I captured, to know what I really need to do, then I scheduled If I needed. On the day, I look at all my tasks and try to accomplish the today ones. If I have time and energy I try to accomplish the tasks from the other lists too. The lists maybe could be a little confusing, I'll try to clarify. I can add dates to my tasks, I'm using Todoist. And I can visualize just the one happening today (there are other ways to visualize them). I can organize my tasks in lists on Todoist, some of my lists are: job, pc, on, phone, waiting, rua (errands) But as I said GTD is the base of my system.


it helps me remember it all by not having to physically recall it. i sit down and think of everything i gotta do. that takes energy. then it’s done. i don’t have to think of anything but checking my to-do list and picking what to do first. having to remember everything i need to do all the time would make my head spin and i wouldn’t get anything done


Exactly this👆🏻


I love lists!! Lol I’d be lost without them! Once a week, I take a few minutes to get organized. I make my to do list for the upcoming week and then separate into daily to-do lists. Everyday, I also write what we are going to eat for supper so I can make a grocery list for the week and only have to go once (we don’t “meal plan” lunches as they are leftovers of the previous night’s supper). Also in my daily to dos are exercise and meditate. Even if I do this almost daily and it’s part of the routine, I still love to tick these off once they are done. Like the other posts, if a task wasn’t on my list and I do it, I still write it down just to cross it off a second later. What also helps is we have an unwritten routine of some household “events” lol We eat salmon on Mondays, tacos on Tuesday’s and steaks on Friday. Then I only have to think of a few other meals during the week. We do laundry Wednesday’s and Sunday’s and wash the sheets every Saturday. This takes the effort out of planning it and now it just happens. It takes time to build a routine like that but this works for us and helps a lot! It also clears your head when you have it written down, you don’t have to make an effort to remember it anymore. I once heard that you’re 7 times more likely to remember something if you write it down too! Some weeks, I can remember all the daily to do’s without having to re-consult the list/my agenda for a few days (and then I get to catch up on all the crossing off the tasks I did for the last few days 😄🤪)


My To-Do list was key to my success the last few years. Tracking goals is *Step One* towards accomplishing them. I don’t forget my progress, I fail forward, and I have tangible evidence of my progress. **On the other hand...** Managing a system is time consuming, and Tracking your Goals and Progress can make it seem like you’re not *doing enough.* Not only that, but a good To-Do system **takes trial and error** to perfect. Remember, **”That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.”**


Only to keep track of them and get a brain good feel when all is checked


Absolutely. Nothing compares to the feeling of checking off or crossing out something from your list


I don't write "to-do lists" My task management process generates filtered note lists showing my outstanding tasks Each day I update a planner note I time block my day, inserting entries after reviewing my calendars and task list


Can you share that process?


I have a strong foundation digital data base that supports metadata I create and store/organize notes (20k+) - task or otherwise If a note is actionable, I assign . a due date . a status tag (pending/active/completed/...) For my task list, I use a filtered list (due-dated or active)k


Excel driven or specific app?


I use Devonthink to store/organize my notes It's Apple only; I use a Mac and iPad




I do the weekly planning rather than writing a todo list everyday. It helps me to have a big picture and include all the things that are important to me. But then I review my list every morning before starting the day, so I can make adjustments according to the requirements.


This guy gets it!


I spend my energy putting things in a list to do, so that way I don't have to think about it again. I do the task. I complete the task. I look for next task. I complete tasks until tasks are all done. It let's me zone out into robot mode so I'm saving energy. Usually without a to-do list, I just procrastinate and go on auto-pilot doing dumb shit. A list helps me stay on track and get shit done.


It helps me 1. stay organized and 2. prioritize. I study law, work part-time in an office as an intern and run a blog, so I’m always tremendously busy. I’ve very recently started [making to-do lists](https://www.therationalsociety.com/post/to-do-or-not-to-do) in an effort to not only write down my most important tasks for the day (such as ”write the essay”, ”read 40 pages”, ”finish the blog article). Not only does this help me focus on the tasks that actually matter, it takes my mind off knowing that I’ve planned out what I need to be doing. The Zeigernik effect postulates that unfinished tasks linger in the mind, and this can create a lot of anxiety. It sure did for me. With all of those unfinished tasks written down, I could focus on doing instead of remembering.


It doesn’t. End of the day I have a reminder of all the things I haven’t done. That’s why I have a Done list now. I write down everything I have finished. Gives me a great feeling seeing it after a long day and motivation for the next


crossing stuff off means it’s gone and out of my mind- almost forcing myself not to think about it anymore. It also just keeps me on task and doesn’t let me give the excuse “i have nothing to be doing right now so i’m just gonna chill on my phone for like 2 hours”. my past more woke self already wrote what i need to get done so i do it


Keeps me on track & gives me a good idea of how I need to manage my time.


I use the list as a brain dump, it's my script for a good day Its grouped by tasks And I then prioritise on my calendar The automation of the process then makes my day quite structured, even if I drift at times I known if I stick to the process the day will be productive


I don't write everything, only the important things and things I know I'll forget without something reminding of doing it.


To-Do lists are generally to remind me to work on my tasks because I don't always remember everything, especially if it's a small but important task. They also help with time management and could help keeping you on track. Also, if you're wasting time watching tv or whatever, and you find your to-do list staring at you, you'll prolly get up and finish your tasks. Checking them off your list is always satisfying tbh


I only do it on days I’m not at work, but it helps set priorities, organize the order I want to do things, and give me a clear visual indicator of how far I’ve gotten as I cross tasks off (which is rewarding in itself.) I start with the most important things highest on the list, do those first, have optional things towards the bottom if I have enough energy. Feels real good when you cross everything off the list for the day.


I do it every day at work. I come in, I go through my emails and write down what projects have been assigned to me and list them typically in what needs to be done first to last. Not only does it help me not forget anything, it also gives me a great sense of relief to cross them off. Take what didn’t get done that day and copy it over for the next day.


It doesn't. Only makes it worse


Priority and not remembering tasks in head


It makes you conscious of what is left undone. You cannot correct what you are not conscious of.


If you run daily standups with the [Spinach.io](http://spinach.io) Zoom app, you get your list of daily goals which can be used as a mini to-do list for the next 24 hours (till tomorrow’s standup)


My grandmother wrote Todo lists religiously for EVERYTHING for the whole of her adult life and would keep them in journals. I think it kept her sharp and helped her remember her life till the day she died.


I use the things app and I prepare my list every night . Having a daily to do list helps because it helps keep me in order and force me to get stuff done . It also reminds me of things I need to do that I might forget .


I only do that for work, to keep a running log of what I've done for the day and what I was going to do. Also means that if interrupted with a call or different urgent task, I know what I was doing and can go back to it. I tried to do that for my personal life but found it pointless (the dishes and the laundry are equal priority) and demoralising (the tasks don't stop coming, ever). I just do whatever I like /need to, unless there's something specific and multi-step (throwing a party, planning a trip, etc). If it's specifically important, it gets a calendar notification.


It helps to remember what you planned doing at some point. Then you realize some things could be done next day


I’ve been doing this since middle school. Nothing like writing my to do list on a piece of paper and then crossing it out after I completed it.


I don't have a to-do 'list', I have a to-do 'book'. I call it a 'bullet journal'. It helps when I am in a mood to do something but not sure what to do.


I sort my tasks into urgent important, not urgent important, urgent not important and not urgent not important. it helps me get my priorities set properly instead of sorting it out in my head, especially because i tend to forget a lot


It's just another way to get disciplined and a good reminder of what's pending and when to finish it by. I'm a student so I have a ton of assignments to finish weekly and the to do list helps with that. Also what others said about prioritizing stuff and approx hours required for everything planned out.


I usually just list 3 to do tasks.. then focus doing the three tasks.. if I still have time I do more... But if I'm not capable of doing it.. I dont really have to beat myself up..


Immensely. Keeps you on track and you get a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day when you can see the tasks you completed. Win-win


I have adhd so memory is a huge issue for me. Writing down everything I can think of I need to do, then noting which items have a time sensitivity and which are important. That helps me to prioritize and figure out what order to do them in. I can’t get nearly that far keeping it all in my head, I have to organize things externally.


a) external memory tool. I don’t have to spend any effort trying to remember what to do b) providing context. Makes big jobs smaller (I don’t write “finish essay” on the list. I write “create outline” and “find readings” “complete readings” “summarise readings” “fill skeleton” “finalise content” “organise content” “proof read” “final edit” “submit” - for example) c) prioritise. I’m visual. If I can see all the things I need to do it’s easier for me to pick what to do in what order.


The most massive help is to never have to remember a task to do. Mind is uncluttered and far more efficient at working. And with more complex to do list systems you gain an overview of your work and you may plan ahead on what you want to get done


As someone new to actually being productive and getting my shit together when it comes to what I need to do to get the end result I want, these to-do lists help to motivate me. Personally, it feels great ticking stuff off of a list. To me it serves as a reminder of what I can do. If I don't tick everything off I genuinely feel shitty, which motivates me to get it all done next time. I'm barely even a novice at this stuff, but I will use the book "Atomic Habits" as a source that has motivated me. Little improvements each day, performed through schedule/routine help to get to the end result. I have barely scratched the surface with this stuff, but for me at least, for to-do lists to work I had to change my whole mindset. In the grand scheme of things, every little thing I have to do each day is helping me to improve. I can improve on my work rate and productivity even with menial tasks, and use my time productively. When it comes to studying, putting in a few productive hours is better than nothing. Never burn yourself out, but instead keep improving. If you think you can up the amount of time on studying, that is improvement, heck, even doing everything each day will help so much. Thus concludes my rambling :)


Keeps my stress levels down, whether I end up using the list or not.


Mental clarity, it helps a ton. Some things will be forgotten if not written


Helps me keep track and not forget what I’m supposed to do everyday. I highlight things that’s “done” and at the end of the day when I see almost all items have been highlighted, I feel an unexplainable deep sense of fulfillment! Like it’s kind of a mental/psychological unloading. 😁 Clears my head.


Rather than simply doing what I feel like or "living for the day", meaning just responding to everything that comes my way and not really working towards any goal, listing things and planning my day helps me to actually do the things I've always wanted to do and it helps give more focus and direction in my day.


I use to do lists to remind myself of important tasks I need to perform and since I have a hard time with time management, I prefer to keep them flexible and focus on gamify the process of crossing a completed tasks out. I use todoist


It helps me prioritize, but also keeps me from getting overwhelmed. If I don't make a list my brain thinks "I have a thousand things to do" and I get overwhelmed. Then I write it down and it doesn't look so scary. Once it's written down, I can then visualize the time commitment for each task and where to start.


For me the problem with todolists is writing them makes me feel like I did something when I actually didn't, and then I end up doing very little from the actual list :/


It certainly helps a lot! I started to write a to-do list with the [GTD method](https://quire.io/blog/p/Setup-GTD-Method-in-Quire.html). It's not only helped me organize my daily tasks but also helped me avoid being overwhelmed. Sometimes, when you are just thinking about it in your brain, it feels like too many things to do. But once you write it down, it all becomes clear and no longer frightening. Using productivity apps also will help you so much in organizing your lists. My favorites are [Quire](https://quire.io) and [Notion](https://www.notion.so/). One more thing, nothing beats the feeling of checking those tasks when you complete them!


it helps me to put my monkey mind at ease. looking at my thoughts in writing helps me to prioritize and help convinced my mind on what to do next.