We’ve all had those productive days where you wake up ready to accomplish everything you could possibly dream of. You’ve written down everything that needs to be done, you’ve planned your whole day out, and you’ve even planned your reward for finishing your list. But as the day wears on, the list seems to get larger and the amount of hours you have left to accomplish your goals and snag that reward quickly dwindle. What’s left at the end of the day is a half-finished to-do list, an exhausted body and mind, and an overwhelming sense of guilt and general unproductiveness. These feelings can take a huge toll on our mental health and leave us feeling more useless than helpful.
But instead of torturing yourself at the end of the day when your list isn’t done, consider that it would be more beneficial both to your health and the list if you put it away for the day and came back to it! It can be hard to justify “quitting” on the list when you’re so close to the end, here are three reasons why it’s better to put the list down now and redouble your efforts tomorrow:
1. Burnout – Your list is a mile long, and every time you finish one chore it seems another 3 crop up in its place. If it’s late in the day and you’ve been hacking away at your to-do list all day, it’s pretty likely that you’re experiencing some major fatigue! Whether your list includes cleaning and organizing your living space, or tackling a big project with a looming deadline, spending all day on the same tasks is sure to wear you out both physically and mentally! Burnout is especially common if you’ve forgotten to schedule breaks in your day – not remembering to eat or take a minute to sit down, or even taking 20 minutes to watch TV and give your brain a break can build up and leave you feeling totally spent at the end of the day. In considering burnout, think about your end of day “reward”. If you’re already burnt out from your day of working, if you continue your list to the end, are you going to be able to enjoy your reward?
2. Losing Focus – While physical burnout is incredibly common from a day of work, the mental aspect is often overlooked, but just as important. Without taking a few moments from your day to let your brain rest, you may find that you lose focus more easily throughout the course of the day. While this may not be a big issue if your to-do list is strictly cleaning, this lack of focus could spell disaster if your list includes tackling some big projects. Losing focus can not only increase the time it takes to complete your list, but if your work requires more brain power, the quality of your work will definitely decline as the day goes on. If you want your work to be at it’s peak, it’s important to remember to rest and take time away from your projects so you can return with fresh thoughts and eyes!
3. Physical and Mental Health suffer: While this reason isn’t necessarily something you’ll see short-term, it definitely will start to rear it’s ugly head if you’re a chronic “do it all today” kind of person (like me!). When you continuously push yourself passed the workload limit of what your body can handle, your body won’t be able to keep up. You’ll find yourself getting sick easily and losing sleep, but most importantly you won’t be able to continue the heavy workload you’ve placed on yourself. While one day of overdoing it certainly won’t push you to this extreme, it’s important to make sure that an over-burdened workload does not become a habit for you. Making a habit of being overworked can have some serious implications for your health – so make sure to put the work down once in a while!
Now that you’ve seen some reasons to put your list down for the day, it’s time to kick back, relax, and remember that the work will be there tomorrow. Taking a moment to enjoy what you’ve accomplished today and relax is so much more important than killing yourself trying to get the work done. Take a load off, and head back to it tomorrow!