Whether stressing out over college finals or over personal life factors, stress is bound to come to us in a number of ways. Life is full of anxiety and struggles so being stressed out is only natural. However, there is a very simple method to alleviating over 60% of the stress that dominates our mood on the daily: making an organized schedule
Many people consider making a schedule a “waste of time” and they would rather create their own schedule as the day progresses. This is because these people are led by a belief that schedules are overwhelming, especially after looking at all the tasks that must get done. However, it is important to not mistake a schedule with a checklist. In other words, the purpose of a schedule is not to get all of the events done, but to organize your day to have somewhere to start. According to companies such as Child Care Plus, creating an organized schedule for the day is the best method of relieving stress and provides numerous benefits:
Schedules Decrease Anxiety Levels: According to a study by Wake Forest University, “they found that people would underperform on a task if they were unable to complete a warm-up activity. When participants were allowed to map out a particular plan, the performance of the next plan drastically improved”. This is because our brains are too distracted by our work to resort to focusing on stress. Therefore, by creating a schedule, we can map out our plan and, in turn, manage our anxiety.
Schedules Make Us Motivated: Creating a schedule breaks our arduous tasks down into smaller chunks in which one task can be completed at a time. This fools our brain into thinking that we are not overwhelmed and motivate us to complete our tasks. For long term goals such as dieting, start with tasks such as “Cut down on that bag of chips” and then schedule tasks such as “Excerise 30 minutes per day”. The organized nature of a schedule will help improve our self confidence and make us more willing to complete our tasks now and in the future.
Schedules Improves Our Memory and Productivity: According to Lithuanian psychologist Bluma Zeignarnik, “If our brains don’t have any closure, our bodies will continue to give cognitive effort related to the specific task. Once the task is done, our brains are ready to let it go”. In other words, our brains remember things that are not completed rather than what was completed. The thought of an uncompleted task is quite stressful and, by creating a schedule, we can keep task easier of what needs to be done, what tasks are done, and what tasks to prioritize, thus improving our memory and productivity.
Schedules Provide Accomplishment: According to research conducted by the Serenity Mental Health Centers, setting and reaching our goals causes our brain to release dopamine which is associated with “pleasurable sensations”. Regardless of the level of difficulty the task is, the feeling of completing the schedule is gratifying and improves our mental health.
For these reasons, building a schedule is the strongest stress reliever and even poses benefits to ourselves as a person. Giving structure to a world of chaos and clutter is more beneficial than you think and, the next time you’re stressed out over an exam or a breakup or even a long-term goal, create a schedule. You may be surprised by the influence organized has on our productivity and stress.