I just read an article online about increasing dopamine levels (in turn making you feel better). It included things like avoiding addiction, sleeping well, exercise, and taking supplements. The article said that making lists and checking things off helps increase dopamine because of the sense of accomplishment you get when you complete a task. Before anyone gets their panties in a twist, I know it was an internet article about science. It’s accuracy may not be real high. However, I do think there was something to what I read, particularly the part about making lists and checking stuff off when you get it done.
I’ve been making lists recently because I swear I can’t remember shit if I don’t. It’s a horrible thing, not to have my memory be what it used to be. It’s like this fog descends over my brain and I lose all ability to remember stuff.
I recommended it to a coaching client who normally feels anxiety about making lists. Instead of feeling the joy of seeing things checked of, she could only focus on the things that were left undone. I suggested that if she saw the same things left undone over and over, that perhaps they weren’t that important to her to do. I think that changed her perspective only it a little bit.
I think there is a lot to be said about feeling a sense of accomplishment for even routine things. Routine things take up loads of time. As we’re crawling into bed at night completely exhausted, we wonder where our day has gone. It’s things like laundry, grocery shopping, and paying the bills that eat up our time.
For someone like me, with chronic health issues, all of those activities is a real energy drain. I had so much pain in my back earlier today that I thought I might have to go to the doctor. It’s subsided now, but I had to lay down for a while to get it under control. I read a book while I was resting, but that doesn’t mean that the time was a waste, by any stretch. Since I couldn’t do anything else I needed to do, like finish unpacking or more laundry, I used the time to do something else that’s important to me. I feel a *little* better about the time spent laying on my back.
I think tracking everything I do during the day and then crossing it off will make me feel better about my illness. Some days it’s hard to et out of bed at all, let alone do all the stuff I need to do around the house and for work. I’m hoping that if I can see everything I’ve done (without focusing on what remained undone), I’ll not feel like a lazy bum. Also, if I make a list of what needs to be done the following day, before I got to sleep at night, I may be able to remember all of it a little but better!
What about you? Are you a list maker? Does it help?