- Dr. John Bohlmann, N.D.
Does your "to do" list have the upper hand? Try this simple mind-hack to turns things aro
Naturopathic medicine is not just about eating well and exercising. It's about creating balance in all areas of life, so you can thrive!! Managing the physical and mental stress of daily living is a critical part of maintaining health.
If you're like me, you love to get things done! There's a feeling of satisfaction that comes from checking things off the to do list when you have them done. The problem in today's world is that many adults (myself included) find themselves with more things on the list than time to do them. Despite best efforts the list keeps growing and growing and growing! When this happens to regular people, it's easy for them to feel overwhelmed and unproductive. When this happens to an overachiever, it's almost unbearable!!
Common coping mechanisms used by people with an overbearing to do list are:
- Drinking more coffee
- Burning the candle on both ends
- Engaging your loved ones in working on your to do list for you
- Complaining constantly about how much you "have to do"
- Giving up on your goals; even if temporarily
Unfortunately, these options rarely have happy endings.
So what can you do to turn things around? The mind hack that I'm about to suggest is very similar to another I use frequently, the gratitude journal. The gratitude journal is very useful for turning your mind away from complaints and feelings of lack. When you're feeling lack in your life, simply write down three or four things you already have for which you are grateful. The goal is to shift the focus off of complaints and onto things you already enjoy having in your life. This mental shift can sometimes bring profound positive changes in your life. Try it any time. It works synergistically with this new mind-hack.
When it comes to your extraordinary"to do" list, it's a good idea to shift your focus in order to take pressure off and give your self recognition for all that you actually do in a day.
Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest you abandon your to do list altogether (especially if your memory is not that sharp or you just need it for accounting purposes).
What I suggest you do for at least 3 consecutive days is to create a new list entitled "already done" (or some variation). This will be a blank sheet of paper at the beginning of the day and be populated by you throughout your day. Every time you finish a new task/project/to do item (big or small), write it on your list. Line by line you will be building a record of your accomplishments for each day. When you finish each day, take a few moments to review your list and recognize all you have actually done with your day.
You'll find the exercise most meaningful if you include things that you would normally consider "regular and basic" such as making a meal and eating it or opening the mail. It's so easy to overlook these basic tasks by mentally labeling them as meaningless. This results in them being obstacles in your day rather than points of satisfaction. Avoid adding to the list when you first begin a task or before it is completed, so you're not just making another to do list!
After only a few days, you'll have a renewed sense of satisfaction in your daily activities and best of all your monster of a to-do list will likely feel much more manageable!!!
Give it a try and comment on how it works for you!!!