To-do lists, schedules and organization…
Help! I am suffocating.
Did the sound of those words make you feel restricted and stressed?
Two weeks ago I started hiding my to-do lists under my laptop. “ You are procrastinating.”, you might say. I get you! At the beginning I thought that this is something an irresponsible person would do.
Postponing work that needs to get done can’t lead to anything good, right?
It turned out that my to-do lists were not only taking too much of my attention but they were also secretly depleting me mentally and energetically.
To-do lists on yellow sticky notes are indeed the first thing you see on your desk in the morning and throughout the day. They are magnets for attention. It is not that organizing your day or work is a bad thing but we all know that too much of something is no good. Too much focus on what needs to get done at some point into the future pulls you out of the present moment. When your focus is not on the present moment you simply can not give your best and do the work. Wouldn’t you agree?
Looking frequently at everything you’ve scheduled for the whole week or month could bring up some issues like not having enough time or energy, not having the knowledge to complete certain tasks and so on. One thing would attract another and before you know you could start spiraling negatively.
Instead of writing a to-do list that is focused only on what needs to get done, focus on what you would love to do and how you would love to do it.
For example when you need to buy grocery instead of focusing on how much time and effort it would cost you, focus on the fact that you are going to buy and eat some delicious foods, maybe even your favorite thing. You could also go to the park afterwords and eat the banana you’ve bough if this is something you would love to do ( I do that 🙂 ).
Take some time to plan your month or week in advance and break it down into what you would love to do each day. Then at the beginning of the day focus only on what you’ve planned for that specific day. You don’t need to know by hard all of your plans for the entire week or month. Just write them down and put them aside. To-do lists are dynamic lists so of course things will be postponed, replaced or something else. It’s OK. You don’t need to control everything.
When you write your to-do list add adjectives about how you would love to feel. Everything we do is because we want to feel a certain way. So, ask yourself “ How would I love to experience buying grocery today?”.
For example this month I am learning how to be more present especially when I am doing mundane things like buying food. I love it when I am focused on choosing what I would love to buy and how I am going to cook it instead of following my thoughts which pull me out of the moment.
So, how do you feel about your to-do lists? Do you have and tips which help you plan better and also feel better?
Share your experience and wisdom with us in the comments below.