Does anyone else here usually fall asleep planning all the things that need to get done the next day? Maybe just in your head, or even writing it out in a to-do list or to-do email in bed?
I am definitely a party to this, and earlier this week I was doing just that.
And while many experts recommend to-do lists to help you get rid of your worries before you sleep, I added a final thing to my to-do list and I stopped writing. Here it is:
No matter how much I am able to get done tomorrow, I want to be calm and relaxed while I do it.
Sounds really nice, right? But it goes even deeper.
Our Lists Never End, So the Middle Matters
It’s time to admit that the list will never end. There will always (ALWAYS!) be something or a list of things we need to get done. Sometimes important things, like “More chocolate” or “Pay childcare,” and sometimes not necessarily important things, like perfectly wrapped gifts.
Regardless of what is on the list, you will always have a list. And if your default “checking things off my list” attitude is stressed, harried, and all too focused?
You’re going to burn out.
So, here’s our little experiment: instead of starting the morning rushed, gulping down tea and getting to work, counting on each hand how many hours left I have to work that day, I want to try to approach everything that needs to get done with an attitude that won’t stress me out.
So, whether I finish everything on my list, or just two things, I give myself permission to remain consistently positive, relaxed, and satisfied with my progress.
Not only will this take the pressure off of these pre-holiday work days, but I also have a hunch this attitude will free me up to be just as productive as my stressed-out self would want to be.
Your List Is Your Life, So How Do You Want to Work It?
So, your turn. How do you want to feel at the end of your day, regardless of how many things you check off your to do list? Aggravated? Frustrated? Stressed out or wiped out? (Even when you finish EVERYTHING!)?
Or maybe chill. Relaxed. Satisfied. Whether you finished one, none, or all.
Because isn’t the point of your to-do list to feel more relaxed, organized, and on top of things? So, what’s the point in finishing your to do list if it leaves you just as wound up as not finishing?
Especially during the holidays, it can help to accept that your to-do list may never end. And how you use that information can decide how much you’ll enjoy this season.
If you focus on the downsides, the whole season will flash past you in a huff of busy-ness. Far better to relax and enjoy the middle, the doing of it all, with a smidge of zen.