How To Prevent Overwhelm (Weekly Ritual)
I’m a list-maker. Always have been. Especially to do lists.
There’s nothing better than checking things off my list. Here’s the problem. If you’re like me, the list of things to do grows exponentially faster than I can possibly cross them off.
AS OUR LIVES GET FASTER + MORE COMPLICATED, THE SATISFACTION OF ACCOMPLISHING ITEMS ON OUR LIST SLOWLY MORPHS INTO A FEELING OF DREAD + OVERWHELM.
Today I’m going to share with you a new way to create your to do list. It’ll help you organize your thoughts, clear your head and whittle down that overwhelming to do list. I recommend implementing this exercise as a weekly ritual. Maybe on Sunday night or early Monday morning.
“Goals are Theoretical, Habits are Actual.” -Danielle LaPorte
CREATE A BETTER TO DO LIST
STEP 1: Upchuck Your Thoughts
Grab your journal (yes you should have a journal) and write down everything your mind is thinking and saying. It could be in bullet point format or a stream of consciousness rant. Small things like picking up the dry cleaning and big things like finding a new career. Get it ALL out. You cannot be productive or easy to be around if your mind has no space in it. So upchuck all the thoughts in your head onto that piece of paper and create some space. This could take 10-15 minutes or longer depending on how much clutter you’ve accumulated Take as long as you need.
STEP 2: No Control? Not On The List.
Let’s start crossing thing off immediately. Yes, my favorite part! Take five minutes and draw a thick, black line through anything that is OUT OF YOUR CONTROL.
EXAMPLE: You wish your annoying coworker would quit. Cross it out. Your coworker’s level of annoyance is out of your control. Worrying about it will only take away from your happiness.
EXAMPLE: I wish I made more money. Cross it out. Now I understand if you want to make more money, but if someone else is paying your salary, then you don’t actually have control over that. What you DO have control over is something like this: Talk to my boss about what I can do to get a promotion or a raise. Or…Start networking and preparing my resume.
See the difference? Action items that are within YOUR ability to do versus trying to change other people’s actions or behaviors.
STEP 3: The Guilt. The Shame. The Whatever.
A continuation of whittling your list! Take five minutes to cross off all the things you think you should do or feel ambivalent about or you feel obligated to do, etc. These are usually the things that have been on your list for a long time, always seeming to fall to the bottom of the list, never getting done.
EXAMPLE: Finish that scrapbook of your Caribbean cruise 3 summers ago. Cross it off! Chances are you’re probably not into scrapbooking and That’s OK!
Believe me, if you get that out of your head you’ll free up creative space to discover another hobby you’ll enjoy so much more.
STEP 4: Prioritize + Schedule
Ta-dah! Now you have your ACTUAL to-do list. It should be a lot shorter and you will probably even feel excited about tackling the remaining tasks. Take five minutes to prioritize the items and then decide when you’re going to address them. Make sure you write it in your calendar or planner (yes you should have a calendar or planner) or it may never get done.
This method is virtually guaranteed to bring back that loving feel for your to do list. Getting things done will be easier, faster, and more fun. You might even accomplish everything before the week is out and you’ll be right back to your over-achieving self 😉
Reality Check: After whittling your list, check to see if self-care items like exercise and alone time are still on the list. If not, add them in and schedule them. These are Non-Negotiable and will keep you calm and sane. More on this in another blog post.
Lots of Love,