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Issue:- 27 June 2013


EVERYDAY tasks that fall outside the normal 9 to 5 are so overwhelming that 17% of people from the North West are lying awake at night fretting about tasks from paying off their credit cards to booking a doctor's appointment, according to new research released by the Payments Council, the organisation spearheading the new Current Account Switch Service launching this September.

The Life's Long List report, has been put together using research from a Populus study of 2,085 UK adults. It found that 1 in 5 of us in the UK find our daily 'to-do list' so overwhelming that it plays on our mind all the time, and 17% of us in the North West are so worried by our 'life admin' tasks that we lose sleep over them.

Surprisingly, across the UK, it is younger people who are suffering the most. 30% of 18 to 24 year olds; around 1.8m people, almost the entire UK student population; are so concerned by their list that they feel ill and 21% of young people; almost 1.3m people, equivalent of nearly 10 Glastonbury Festivals; admit that they lie awake thinking about the things they are yet to strike off their list.

Overall the research reveals that nearly all of us in North West (97%) have a list of tasks that we never seem to get to the bottom of. Home improvements appear on 63% of our lists followed closely by tackling general de-cluttering (60%) and household chores (58%).

Health concerns are also high on lists in the North West. Just 62% of us want to exercise more regularly, but of more concern is the fact that 23% of us are failing to book and attend doctor's appointments and just 32% keep putting off eye tests.

Social psychologist and life coach Dr Gary Wood, who co-authored the Life's Long List report, explains:- "Today's everyday tasks have a tendency to mount up and appear overbearing if we let them. Stress then triggers our 'fight or flight response'. This distorts our perception of time and limits our sense of the options available to us. We think 'survive' rather than 'thrive'. Instead we need to give ourselves space to sit back and appraise our lists - identifying activities that can be easily tackled and finding a logical way to do so."

Financial planning tasks are not so pressing though. 34% of people from the North West keep intending to save for a rainy day and 29% plan to pay off their credit card bill. Moving bank accounts for a better deal features on 19% of people from the North West's 'to-do lists', a task that will be made easier from September with the launch of a new Current Account Switch Service. This new service aims to increase competition in banking, making it simpler, quicker and hassle-free for customers to switch their current account.

Lack of time is the reason given by most people across the UK for never reaching the end of their 'to-do lists', with 33% claiming there is just not enough time in the day to get on top of everything.

As the number of tasks build up our ability to cope is also compromised. If we had no choice but to start tackling our list tomorrow, 20% of us in the UK think it would take a whole week to complete and a massive 61% think it would take a couple of weeks or more.

Dr Gary Wood's Seven Top Tips for Tackling Life's Long List:-

1. Start with some long, deep breaths – this takes down our stress levels and restores a more balanced perception of time.

2. Consider the benefits of tackling a task and write down your reasons. This will help with motivation. Focus on the attractions rather than the distractions.

3. Approach with a positive mental attitude – we tend to process information more efficiently if we approach it with a 'can-do' attitude.

4. Build confidence by breaking a task down into smaller milestones.

5. Tackle tasks in intensive bursts of activity with breaks in between to keep your cognitive (information processing) abilities at their peak.

6. Balance mental exertion by taking physical exercise (this can be a de-clutter or tidy-up around your home or workplace).

7. Celebrate your successes.

Dr Gary Wood continued:- "When tackling a 'to-do' list it's tempting to focus on the items that 'scream loudest'. These are often the survival, 'just-get-by' items or those that are the most tangible. It's important to break the pattern of focussing on completing 'survival only' items so that we get a broader picture and sense of achievement across all aspects of our lives."

Adrian Kamellard, Chief Executive at the Payments Council said:- "Our 'to-do lists' are longer than ever before, often including actions that can save you money in the long-run, such as changing your mobile phone contract or switching utility company. These tasks often seem complex and time-consuming, so the idea of creating an easier and quicker way to move your bank account was something we have worked hard to deliver with the new Current Account Switch Service. Launching in September this service will make switching current account from one bank or building society to another simple and hassle-free."

Southport economy boosted by conference for leading UK mutual

BENENDEN Health, one of the UK's leading mutual healthcare providers will set up its annual conference in Southport this week bringing with it an estimated boost to the local economy in the region of £200,000. The conference will see over 500 guests visiting the town, including more than 350 delegates who are nominated from benenden health's extensive UK wide branch network. Delegates will be coming together to debate a wide range of issues relating to the organisation at Southport's Theatre and Convention Center on Thursday, 27 June and Friday, 28 June 2013. This year's conference will also welcome special guest speaker, Ashley Brooks, NHS National Patient Champion who will speak on the challenges facing UK patients today. Renė Fraoli, Society Secretary at Benenden Health said:- 'Our annual conference is always a great opportunity for our members to come together to make decisions on the future of the organisation. It also gives them the chance to engage with Benenden Health's management team and get directly involved in how our business is run. Mutuality is the very essence of our organisation and this is why it is vital that we have our members at the core of the decision-making process. In 1905 our founder, Charles Garland had a vision of an organisation based on the principles of mutuality and this spirit still exists as much as ever over 100 years later.  We look forward to spending time once again in Southport; having fond memories of our centenary conference in the town back in 2005; and we're glad our presence will have a positive financial benefit to the local economy'.

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