Find more peace and joy in your everyday life while conquering your to-do list
Written by: Camille Lucy
In today’s modern society, it’s no surprise if your to-do list grows faster than you can check things off. Especially if you have a family. Often times, we feel that we have to do everything ourselves, and this can feel daunting, overwhelming and helpless. But I have great news for you… you’re not alone. Ever. We are all in this together, and there are resources and ways to delegate tasks so you have more time. What’s more, there are practices to help you become more productive…and while it may seem counterproductive to spend additional time (that you don’t seem to have) on implementing new practices, the benefits are actually profound: spending less time doing things more efficiently.
Here’s a list of 5 ways to deal with Overwhelm: (5 Life Hacks)
- Mindfulness. A mindful practice like meditation, yoga or time in nature, filters stress out of the body. Mindfulness has a two-fold benefit here. First, you’re going to learn how to focus, become present and improve overall functioning. Two, you’re going to enjoy the things you’re doing more, and have some fun, like mindful eating! You may say, “But how can I spend 20 minutes meditating, when I barely have 20 minutes to take a shower or get to the other things I have to do?” The answer is simple. When we feel good, we are more efficient and productive. That means it takes less time to do the things we have to do. And we do them better! A dedicated meditation practice can be done in 10-20 minutes, twice a day, to receive the full benefits but can be done in as little as 30 seconds.
Studies show improvements in the mental, emotional, physical and social health and wellbeing of the children and adults that practice mindfulness. Some more specific benefits include: improved ability to focus, improve memory and mental clarity, reduction in stress, anxiety and reactivity, better behaviour and emotional management, increased self-esteem, quicker to calm down and relax when upset, increased empathy, improved self-control, objectivity, tolerance, flexibility, equanimity, emotional well-being and the ability to relate to others (and ourselves) with kindness, acceptance and compassion. In schools, bullying was seen taking a decline after mindfulness was introduced.
Introducing a meditation practice into your home will benefit all that participate. You’ll be more relaxed, with less stress, and able to conquer your day-to-day tasks with clarity and precision. For more information on how to begin, you can
- Prioritize. One of our (not so great) habits as Humans is to push important things off and tackle tasks that seem quick or easy. This is a form of procrastination, and rarely gets us to our desired outcome. Unless, of course, your wish is to rush and add more pressure on yourself last minute. If you notice you’re checking your inbox or social media feed one-too-many times while your to-do list is impatiently waiting for you to tend to it, take inventory. Notice if you’re avoiding doing the tasks at hand that seem overwhelming or large. Social media can wait, and spending the time on important items on your list will bring you fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment when you finally cross them off. Try writing down everything you need to do, then organizing the list by importance or deadline. This is a great way to visually see what needs to get done, when, and what can wait for another day.
- Carve Out 1-on-1 Time. Again, it may not make any sense at first to think about spending time on yourself, or with your family and friends, when you seem to have no time to begin with. But, when you are happier, you get more done, faster. If you are depleted, and not taking care of yourself, odds are that you aren’t going to get much done anyway. Spend some one-on-one time with the people that matter to you in your life: your spouse, your children, your family or friends. Let them know that they are a priority to you, and your relationship is special and meaningful. Additionally, if there is something that really makes you feel good, do it. Reading, taking a walk, exercise, a hot bath, or meditating. Make sure to schedule in time for yourself so you remain happy, fulfilled and healthy. Life is about moments; try not to get too carried away or buried under the weight of your responsibilities (easier said than done, I know) and spend some of your time and energy being playful, present and tending to your own garden.
- Simplify. Do you really need to do everything on your list? Is there something that you can forfeit, delegate or put on hold for right now? Over-achievers often fall habit to filling their plate oh-so-full, that when it’s almost full, we think it’s empty and add a few more spoonful’s on top. Guilty! If you can hire someone to clean the house bi-weekly, for example that will free you up to do other things that you need to do. Look over the aforementioned to-do list that you jotted down in order of priority and scan it over to see if there is anyone that can take some of the items off your plate.
Let’s think of your responsibilities and to-do list as a delicious home-cooked meal. Your favorite dish! Each task is a bite of food. If you knew that you had to eat every single bite off your plate, would your meal be pleasurable? Sometimes, we mean well when we say “yes” or obligate ourselves… but if we know that there’s just way too much food to realistically eat, we may begin to develop anxiety…before we even take one bite! What good is this precious food if it’s too much to consume and taste and enjoy without getting a stomach ache? Life is this way; there is no need to over-burden yourself and do it all alone. Ration. Simplify. And enjoy the experience(s).
- Ask for Help. No matter what you are going through, there is someone out there willing to help. Family, friends, professionals… we are never alone. When you’re struggling emotionally or physically, there are support groups, meet-ups or professionals that are trained, ready and willing to help out. Sometimes we just need someone to listen, or to hear that we are not alone in what we are going through. Chances are, if you are feeling a certain way, there’s someone (or a lot of people) out there that is feeling that same way, too. There is no shame in seeking help or guidance. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. It takes courage and great strength to reach out and ask for a hand. With all of the resources available to us, there is just no need to suffer in silence.
Of course there will be days that seem daunting or overwhelming. There will always be challenges that pop up along the way. But the more you can remain present and mindful, the more you simplify and ask for help, the sooner you will bring yourself back into personal harmony with more peace, joy, love and fulfilment in your every day life. And if you think just one person can’t change much, think again: happiness has a ripple effect. Soon, you’ll notice your family responding positively to the changes. Then the people that you interact with.
Energy is contagious; choose yours wisely, choose with love.
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