Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by a relentless to-do list that never seems to get shorter? I know I do. I have found that feeling like I can never really get on top of all I have to do can lead to a downward spiral of stress, anxiety and frustration. Feeling such pressure can often put me in a bad mood, making it difficult to enjoy and appreciate all the things I’m doing while I am doing them because I feel so rushed. Can you relate?
I have found something that helps: Taking a moment to think my “safe” thought.
It’s Saturday and I pretty much have the day and evening to myself today. Merrilyn (my wife) has a class today, then has to do some work work, then off to a Seattle Sounders game–she has season tickets. So, not one to lollygag around–the spell checker is having difficulty with lollygag, does anyone know the correct spelling?–I have made a list of what I want to get accomplished today.
This is where I usually get myself in trouble. I just counted the to-do items on my list: 30.
It’s 11:33 AM. There is no way I’m going to get all these done. Obviously. Some of them are yard-work items, some work work items. These I would at least like to chip away at and make a little progress. Oops, I forgot to include walking the dog.
I have a little system where I keep all of my to-do’s in a journal. That along with phone call and meeting notes, or brainstorming ideas. The running to-do method is great because I don’t have to list everything every day; I can go back to items from previous days and check them off. Things that are left undone for too long (can you say “procrastination”?), I eventually copy to a more current list to remind (shame) me.
Reality check: This is more a week’s worth of to-do’s than a day’s. I know this. I also have to remind myself that I have a chronic hand injury that acts up if I over do it.
I read somewhere that, according to some experts, people should only expect to get about six things accomplished in a day.
I guess I should feel relieved. But it still leaves me overwhelmed. Just sayin’.