Some of us are better than others at balancing the “must do” list and the “skip it, it’s not important” list. Others of us are in such a rush through life that we never seem to have a spare moment to enjoy a bit of it.
When you live an over-scheduled life, your life becomes frantic. You do everything at a rushed pace and not always to the best of your ability. Life becomes one big “To Do” list and the goal is to check off as many tasks as possible in 24 hours.
Let me tell you friend, that’s no way to live.
When we are pursuing a way to fulfill every request and want set before us, we become highly ineffective. We are no good to ourselves, our families, our friends… because we are so busy trying to be everything to everyone, we end up with emptiness, resentment and stress.
Here’s a suggestion list to help clear some clutter from your life:
- Do less/Say “No” – Focus on what is most important in your life – make a list and number all the things you call “obligations”. Now cross off the ones that are not absolutely necessary. Learn to say “no” to many requests that are not necessary. This was one of the greatest lessons I ever learned. It felt strange and harsh at first but I did learn something…I am not the only one able to do the task and it will still get done by someone else if it is truly necessary.
- Focus on now – When your mind begins to wander and worry about things that are ahead in your schedule or things that have already passed – let them go. Focus on your present task or situation.
- Disconnect yourself – That’s a literal request. Turn off your phone, the computer, the television – give your brain a rest from all the noise! It’s needed. Do this at least a few times a day.
- Focus on People – Don’t be one who is constantly checking your phone or device. That’s just unnecessary and it’s pretty rude. Be present for the one you are with. New rule – when you are out to dinner with friends, first one who looks at their phone, pays.
- Get outside – Learn to appreciate nature – take a long walk, or a short one at lunch. Look around. No phones! An old-fashioned camera is allowable. Leave the ipod at home too – listen to the sounds around you – connect.
- Eat more slowly – You are not a steam shovel. Enjoy the food that has been prepared for you – taste the flavors. Chew well. Your body will thank you, so will the chef.
- Drive a little slower – It’s not the Indy 500 – you will get there. We all like to complain about work but we’re all in such a hurry to get there. A little odd, eh? When I find myself getting maniacal behind the wheel I try to guess where the people around me are going – what’s their story? Feel your blood pressure drop. This is an area in which I struggle so I know of what I speak.
- Learn to single-task – In this world we are all challenged to be multi-taskers. I think this just pushes us to be too busy. Focus on the task before you, give it your all. Check it off – move on.
- Connect your dots – Remember when you were a child and you were given a dot to dot puzzle? You had to go in order 1-2-3-4…in order to complete the picture in it’s true form. As you move through your day – watch those dots – do them in order. This goes along with single-tasking.
- Breathe – When you feel your shoulders tightening and your stomach in knots – close your eyes (not if you’re driving, that could make matters worse), take several deep, slow, long breaths – let it out slowly.
You can do this! Go from frantic to cool, calm and collected. *BIG sigh of relief*