Try This To-Do List Hack to Relieve Your Stress

How had we not thought of this already?!

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To get us through busy days without totally losing our minds, many of us write out to-do lists or fill in time-blocked calendars that help us keep track of what needs to get done and when. But sometimes looking at all those items on our lists (and more importantly, how many of them haven't been checked off yet) can stress us out even more. Ugh.

Thankfully, Lifehacker writer Stephanie Lee (or, rather, Lee's planner) has a solution for us — and it all comes down to training our brains to prioritize.

Ask yourself: If this was the only thing you did today, would you be satisfied?

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In a recent article, Lee wrote about a planner she purchased from Intelligent Change, in which every day comes with a space labeled "The Most Important Task of the Day." The thought of choosing one (and only one!) important to-do item for the day might sound unrealistic or even impossible when you've got a heaping pile of must-do tasks on your list, but consider this: The "Most Important Task" spot in Lee's planner also comes with a prompt, which reads, "If this was the only thing you did today, you'd be satisfied." It's an interesting way of looking at things, right?

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Lee writes that the prompt forces her to take a step back every day and really think about which items on her to-do list actually need to be completed ASAP. Because the reality is stuff happens, and some days, only one of the things you had on your (probably unrealistically long) to-do list is going to get done, anyway — so why not make it the one task that'll make things easier for you tomorrow?

You don't need to own the same planner as Lee to try applying this Marie Kondo-esque hack to your own to-do list. Simply make your list, narrow it down to the most important item, and then, well, you know, get that one thing done!

You've so got this.

[h/t Science of Us]

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