To-Do Lists are awesome.
Until they aren’t.
What do I mean by this? I’m referring to the time when your To-Do List becomes so long and overwhelming it begins to feel like there’s a hypothetical boulder crushing you.
No one likes the feeling of being “not enough” and never-ending obligations and tasks can leave us feeling anxious, stressed, and anything but accomplished.
I don’t know about you, but I have a lengthy To-Do List going at all times.
Most women do; it’s just in our DNA.
There have been times when my monthly appointment calendar (which doubles as a To-Do List) blocks are so filled with notes, tasks, and appointments that I can barely see the actual date.
Then I have my “when I get caught up” list.
You know, all those loose-end tasks that are filler for days when I may have an extra five minutes. Things like “get a mammogram” or “check into new glasses.” Sadly, these are what I deem as low-level on the Priority Scale but are still stuff that needs to get done at some point.
If your list of things that need to be resolved/done/achieved/finished is so extensive it needs its own zip code, it may be time to stop, take a hard look at what is expected of you (or what you perceive is expected of you), and make some changes ASAP.
Motivational speaker and author Rita Davenport once shared a nugget of gold back in the 1990s that I haven’t forgotten in thirty years (and counting). Her advice when it comes to time management is to focus on one of The Four D’s: Do, Defer (Delay), Delegate, and Delete (Drop).
Yes, there are certain things like teaching your teen to drive, balancing the checkbook, or doing your taxes that we all would love to outsource, but procrastination is the thief of time. You can outsource some of these not-so-fun tasks by sending your kid to driver’s training or hiring an accountant, but there are still steps you need to do yourself. My best advice: Just Do It. Instead of putting it off and letting the dread fester, suck it up and get it done.
Eliminating these necessary but uncomfortable things from your list will take a load off your mind.
I don’t know about you, but the moment I add something to my daily task list, I feel pressured to do it ASAP. Even if it doesn’t really need the “as soon as possible” status.
This is yet another chance to pause and look at these things that are cluttering up your brain and life and determine if they can be shifted to next week’s list. Or next month. Or next year. Or never at all. I had “detail my car” on my list not long ago. Truth be told, my car wasn’t even that dirty, but my OCD brain decided life would be oh-so-much more bearable if my vehicle was tidy.
Week after week, then month after month, this annoying To-Do kept hitching a ride on my daily schedule and frustrating more every time. I finally realized that a clean car was a deadline that I was putting on myself. It completely fell off my list months ago and was a relief.
I haven’t forgotten about it and would still love to have a sparkly clean car. In the meantime, I’ve directed my time and energies to things that are more important. And it feels good.
Asking for help can be such a hard thing for many people to do. But asking for help is also like exercising a muscle. The more you do it, the easier it gets. I can also promise that asking for help does NOT mean you are weak or incapable. It’s a form of self-respect and self-care.
Can you ask your significant other to pick up the groceries once a week? Do you have a trusted coworker/employee that would love the chance to learn something new? Do you know a teen (or even your own kids) who is open to earning new extra bucks to help you with house chores or business tasks?
The key is to speak up if you need help. People are not mind readers!
Can you disregard this task/obligation completely? Do you really need to create custom cards for all of your friends for May Day? That’s a sweet and thoughtful gesture, but if the pressure of creating them messes with your sanity and mental health, save the idea for next year.
If the things on your task lists are not aligning with your goals of being happy, healthy, and at peace with your life, it might be time to reconsider.
One of my favorite quotes from AP founder, author, and CEO Valarie Budayr comes from her book Thrive: Living A Self-Healed Life.
One of the first steps in integrating your newfound self-healing journey is to ask yourself, “How can I continue to live in this place.” This is when everything changes.
To me, this means, if life is becoming overwhelming and you feel like a trout swimming upstream all.the.time, you don’t have to remain in that status. Pick one of the “d”s or simply start saying “not at this time” when your heart isn’t into it.
Time is precious.
Protect yours with vigilance.
For centuries, we have been taught to look “outside” of ourselves when it comes to healing illness, trauma, and dis-ease. In reality, everything we need to nurture, heal, and feed our authentic spirit is right within our bodies. As a Board-Certified Sound Practitioner and Mindfulness Teacher, Valarie Budayr teaches readers how to manifest their path of self-discovery and self-healing through the Four Pillars: Breath, Movement, Sound, and Meditation.
As a trauma survivor herself, the author bares her soul and retells the story of her awakening and journey to living a self-healed life. By telling her story, Budayr encourages others to tell their own stories, shed the toxic beliefs holding them back, and begin a new journey of living a self-healed life filled with wonder, curiosity, and peace. Thrive: Living a Self-Healed Life is available on the Audrey Press website, on Amazon, and Kindle.