How to Clean Up the Needle List Off Your Brain

You know that list of things you keep in your notes (or in your mind), that haunts you down consistently? Yeah, it's time to start editing it.

lifeSometimes I am truly in awe of the way procrastination has captured my brain. It’s odd and very strange to think that one can finish some very simple tasks right away, instead of self-sabotaging and accumulating these minor tasks until they kick in loaded with anxiety.

If you’re anything like me, you will probably have multiple new notes on your phone and lists of things you need to finish as soon as possible. For example, cleaning your room, returning that book you have borrowed from your friend ages ago, buying a birthday gift for your mum, clearing off one or two debts, meditating, buying a new journal, changing the soil of your plants — and many, many more little things — which, if done on time and individually, could declutter your mind and provide you with peace of mind.

But we don’t do these things in time. Instead, we wait for a single day during which we take time off to rest (note: to rest), and we end up doing tasks that have been part of our ‘needle list’ forever.

I encountered the term needle list first in a Huffington Post article, used by Serena Wolf, a chef and the author of The Dude Diet. She defines it as “A running list of smaller things I am prone to procrastinate.” And I couldn’t relate more. After finding her definition way too relevant, I started researching ways I could possibly stop sabotaging myself and actually finish these tasks on time. I’m still a long way from progress, but here is what is helping me out.


Think of How Relaxed You Will Feel After Decluttering

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Lyuba Alex/Shutterstock

It helps a lot if you’re able to visualize. When I am trying to push myself towards cleaning off my needle list, I usually like to imagine all the ways I could fill up that free time by reading, taking a walk with my dog, cooking, or simply watching something relaxing. Sparing some free time for myself in the future is the reward, in this aspect.


Setting Up Alarms

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Inna Kot/Shutterstock

At exactly 1 PM my ‘time for a green tea’ alarm goes on. I do consider drinking this beverage as a needle list candidate because I practically hate green tea. But it’s very good for my health and well-being, so I am trying to keep consuming it. Alarms help a lot when you’re trying to set up a new, more organized routine for yourself.


Engaging a Friend or a Sibling to Help Out

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Look Studio/Shutterstock

For me, it’s a whole lot easier when my sister joins the quest of, say, cleaning up the room and folding up the pile of clothes we have been procrastinating for about two weeks now. A few conversations, arguing overused clothes, and some gossiping every once in a while — and you won’t even notice how time has flown, while you have crossed some things off your list, in the company of a loved person.


Put on Some Music & Get Going

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Look Studio/Shutterstock

If your needle list only involves things you have to do inside your house, put on some music (I prefer soul), and get going. Yes, you may have to pause every once in a while to fix your playlist because you’re not just going to listen to anything while cleaning up that annoying list off your head, but it will be worth the while.


Cross Them Off

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Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Crossing things off your list may be one of the purest joys out there, especially if you happen to be a bit of a control freak and an organizer like I tend to be sometimes. So if you’re either using an app on your phone, or a notebook where you have written down all those tiny things you had to get done — cross them off, and inhale the relief from procrastination!


Photo: Look Studio/Shutterstock


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