Getting out of bed, brushing your teeth or having a shower can feel like a colossal feat when you’re going through a mental low. But alas, things just need to get done.
To-do lists can feel mountainous when you’re in the pits of a depressive episode and as humans, we are wired for seeking pleasure – so any task that isn’t going to deliver on those goods is easy to put off.
Thankfully, there are ways to make completing those tasks easier.
The Eisenhower principle is one such concept that could help. Typically used to boost productivity at work, the method can also be adapted to ticking off everyday activities while you’re experiencing mental health issues.
Inspired by the 34th US president, the principle consists of separating imperatives into ‘urgent’, ‘non-urgent, and ‘important’, ‘not important’.
You can then further adjust the grid to include sub-categories: ‘Do it now’, ‘plan it’, ‘delegate it’ and ‘drop it’. This ensures you’re compartmentalising the immediate responsibilities from the less urgent ones, making tasks seem more manageable.
Cognitive behavioural specialist Jessica Adams says a growing number of tasks can especially overwhelm depressed and anxious people.
“When dealing with high-functioning anxiety this kind of task may be helpful to work on time efficiency and addressing the priority level of each task,” she says.
“This can lead to higher levels of concentration, feeling calmer and organised as well as encouraging one to slow down. For people who suffer with high-functioning anxiety, stopping completely will cause an anxiety flare up. However, slowly addressing everything they wish to accomplish, even if it is to delegate or let it go, will be helpful to maintaining mental health.”