I was talking with a fellow sister in Christ about the stress of getting things done.
I have to go there.
I want this and that to be done.
This needs to be done!
You get the picture.
Anxiety can feel like it happens out of nowhere. There are certainly times when it truly has no precursor. But something I think we forget too often is that we have more authority over ourselves than what we may think.
We CAN be productive. We CAN work on reducing anxiety. We CAN get the list of things to do…done!
It’s important to accept the fact not everything will get done in a day, every day. Somethings may not get done in a week or a month.
Write Your List – Get some paper and pen. Yes, go old school. When we put lists on something digital, we have the power of when we see it. Unless you print out your doc, the lists we do not see “out of sight, out of mind”. We need a list planted somewhere where it will be a reminder and a tool to help us.
Make a list of everything, EVERYTHING, you want to be done, needs to be done, even things you would LIKE to do or be done.
THEN make a smaller list, possibly many lists.
The goal is to make it doable.
List For Today
If there is a kid’s soccer game you need to attend on Wednesday, and it’s Friday, that’s not going to be on the list for today. Don’t worry about carpool for Wednesday, or the snacks needed to be made on Monday. Let go of the appointment on Sunday.
The list for today is for today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not in the next month. Cut down worry by not focusing on the future. Focus on what is in front of you right now.
The list for today.
Listen, if you need to make sure you tell yourself to take a 20-minute break, DO IT. Choose what needs to get done for today, first, and then list what you would like to get done. Go from there.
What matters the most to you will always take priority.
First decide what NEEDS top priority. – It’s important you realize that you cannot please everyone at every moment, including yourself. Look at the tasks at what needs to be done today, in the next few hours, or possibly within the next half hour.
Break Up By Room/Enviroment– If you are going out for groceries, and there are errands you need to do, get them all done in the same outing, if possible. Likewise, minimize the list of everything to get done by room, especially when dealing with organizing, cleaning, etc.
Dishes need to be done? – Okay, that’s in the kitchen. Does the table need to be cleaned off? Do the counters need to be wiped down and/or cleaned off? The floors mopped? The fridge cleaned/organized? Decide the priority of these things. Maybe the fridge could be cleaned out, but it’s not as important as the dishes and mopping the floors.
Bathroom mirror needs to be wiped down? – Sink/shower cleaned? Floor clean? Toilet need scrubbed?
Take it one room or one situation at a time. Maybe decide you just want to clean off surfaces in every room. More rooms are covered, but it is only ONE task.
Know what you are going in for and then look around at your surroundings, and your list (especially if doing errands).
Sometimes we simply run out of time. It’s important to know the day’s activities, and whether or not we need to be somewhere or have something done at certain times. This will help us figure out how to schedule our list and what needs to be done and what we would like to be done.
On busy days, do less. On less busy days, do more.
This is not to say some days may be really busy, and you can STILL be productive in getting other things done. However, being burnt out and seeing a skyscraper high stack of everything you STILL want to get done is stressful.
Stop Pleasing Others & Yourself
Hear me out.
There is such a thing as self-care and then SELFISH/lazy care. I’m guilty of this. I get anxious with everything I want to do and see the things that need to be done. Instead of tackling one thing at a time, I’m guilty of planting myself down on the couch and leave everything to another day. It may ease the anxiety slightly…but it only builds it up back stronger.
I’m also guilty of feeling like I have to do x, y, and z for multiple people. I can’t be everything to everyone. When I talked to my friend about this, we talked about how, if we really wanted to be at our optimum for others, it’d be better to tell them no, than to do what they needed us to do while stressfully thinking about everything else we need to do.
Stretching yourself thin for everything and every one with minimal effort is MUCH worse than doing one task at a time and completing it.
- Minimal effort to many tasks – multiple tasks are touched on, the mind is wary about everything still needing to be done. Attention is not giving solely to one person or thing with induced anxiety and worry.
- Maximum effort to one task– Mind is easier to focus on the task being done. Attention is easier to give because it is not stretched or wandering about everything else. Tasks get completed.
What is comfortable in the moment, not doing anything out of anxiety or truthfully not wanting to do something, will not remain. It’s easy to run away, it’s hard to face what we need to do. The more we run away and push aside tasks, the more it builds up. The more worry/anxiety builds up.
At some point, the tower is going to fall, and we do not want to be under it.
But no matter how high, the day we start removing those blocks is the day the tower begins to get less and less intimidating.
Start with ONE task because that shows yourself YOU CAN do it!
I’ve also discussed how to break tasks before in this previous post.
Do you struggle with anxiety or have a hard time managing your to-do list? Have you found anything that has helped you? Please share!