Are you overwhelmed with your to do list?

We are bombarded by many tasks and our to do lists are overflowing. Of course, we all know that first we have to dedicate time to what’s most important to us and then attend to other stuff. But then we tell to ourselves there is no way out of organizing and cleaning our homes, cooking meals, doing our laundry, doing our groceries, paying our bills, catching up with family and friends, responding to our emails and social media, and… the list seems endless. Add on top the working hours and 7-8 hours sleeping time. Hello! there is only 24 hours in a day! We end up doing trivials first and if there is any time left, we do what’s most important to us personally. This puts us under stress. Each of us experience our own physical symptoms of this stress. For example, my physical symptoms are: churning stomach, shallow breathing and faster heartbeat. At these times, we are usually not in our bodies. We are the cloud of thoughts on upcoming deadlines and projects to complete and undone to-dos, hovering above our bodies. Typically this cloud is heavy, greyish dark and gloomy. This makes us very uncomfortable and out of focus, thus, rather than doing what we are supposed to do, we either withdraw or rush and multitask. Either way the outcome is the same: nothing has been really done! I mean let’s be honest there is no quality and no presence in whatever has been done. This creates guilt. Guilt of not completing that day’s mission and creating extra burden for the next days. The heaviness of this guilt leads to shame and blame spiral which ends with negative self-conversation of “I’m worthless. I am not good enough and…”. This results to complete shutdown and withdrawal. At this point we officially sign off and numb. We all have our favorite numbing strategies… This doesn’t help of course…

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In case you are suffering from this issue, I would like to share the simple strategy that I have developed for myself to breakthrough this dysfunctional pattern. I have discovered that the main reason for this dysfunctional loop is AVOIDANCE! Avoidance of what?

Avoidance of choosing to sit with the underlying cause of withdrawal, and its associated discomfort, mess and pain.  Avoidance of looking at the truth of WHY we want to do all those things? And what’s our motivation? Avoidance of choosing to revisit what’s really really important for us? Avoidance to accept the reality of there is 24 hours in a day so we have to prune back on many things in our lives in order to be able to do what’s most important to us!

This is obvious, right? But the most important and life changing things in our lives are the simplest ones! And of course, simple doesn’t mean easy. Such a paradox…
So, I suggest the next time you have such a struggle, sit with it. Sit with the excruciating discomfort and dare to look at it. It is difficult and unpleasant task to do but it will pay off. We prefer to just jump on doing something rather than sitting quietly with painful feelings and inner dialogues. So, I ask you to please be kind with yourselves. Make a nice cup of tea and serve it with your favorite cookie. Sit on your favorite spot. Then kindly begin the conversation with yourself like you are yourself’s imagined daughter and You are the most compassionate and understanding mother who holds space for her daughter, sees her pain and comforts her and never blames her. When you are anchored in this cozy mother-daughter conversation feeling, answer this questions: “What is the SINGLE most importance thing you would like to have or experience in your life? How would you feel when you have that? who should you become to achieve that?” Feel your answers regardless of your obligations, as if there is absolutely nothing to be worry about and there is no limitation whatsoever.
When you really felt your way through these questions and find your answers get back to your daily schedule and answer these questions: “What should you do in your daily life to move toward actualizing it? What can you prune back on your to-do list to allow time for what’s most important to you?”. Now that you have the big picture clear, break it to tiny turtle steps and schedule it in your calendar. Don’t forget to prune back all extra to-dos in your list because those are not going to get you anywhere. Hello! Consciously choose to prune and let go. Remind yourself it doesn’t matter how much you have accomplished each day, but what greatly matters is the quality of what you have done.
Whenever you get overwhelmed or lost your motivation get back to the questions and your answers: “What is the single most importance thing you would like to have or experience in your life? How would you feel when you have that? who should you become to achieve that?” Your answers to these questions should motivate and excite you enough to get you back on track. If it doesn’t, sit with the discomfort again and revisit your answers. Dig deep because right answers would rush new blood into your veins and excite you like jet fuel.
Consistency and focus are the two things that will ultimately lead us to our desired outcomes. The proposed strategy helps you to narrow down your focus. Then with scheduling dedicated times into your calendar to attend to what’s most important to you and pruning back on other stuff you have consciously designed your life’s schedule for success. Finally remind yourself of this beautiful quote by Danna Faulds:

“Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain”.

Loads of Love
Ariana

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