"I continue to be drawn to clarity and simplicity. 'Less is more' remains my mantra."~ Stephane Rolland
We all have busy lifestyles. The ever-increasing pace of our lives and ever-growing demands on our time from work and other areas of our lives are creating ever-expanding and unmanageable "to do" lists in our lives. Our society has become one of doing. It is expected, and accepted, that we have more to do than we can ever get done. Recently I have found myself overwhelmed with this situation, and upon examination I finally just said, "STOP!"
My daily "to do" list had become so large that there is no possible way that a dozen people would have a had a chance at completing it. I would not be able to get it done if I had a week of concentrating on just my list. Sure I'm ambitious. Sure I have belief in my abilities to do things. I really wanted to do everything on my list. It wasn't so much a list of thing I "have to do" (although there were some,) but it was more a list of things I really want to do...things that come from my interests and passions.
But, with the size of the list, I could not get through everything, and with the overwhelming amount of things there, I was constantly putting myself under pressure to get more of the list done. I began to despise, and even hate, some of the things on the list...even though they came from my passions. When I did tackle something, I tended to rush through it and do a "sub-standard" job on it (according to my own self-imposed standard.)
Something had to change. I gave it some though, and I finally decided to start fresh. I threw the list out and made a new list. Of course, the things on the old list are not lost...they are my passions, and so they will always be there...I just didn't put them all on the list. My new list had 4 items on it! 4! Not only was it pared down to this extremely low number, but 3 of the 4 took less than 1/2 hour each.
I don't know if you can imagine the feeling of getting up in the morning and looking at your to do list and seeing only 4 items. I had decided that I was only required to do what was on the list. If I wanted to do something more, that was fine, but this was all I was required to do. I was invigorated! I was full of energy! I was looking forward to getting to the items on my list, so I plowed in right away.
It felt so good to cross that first thing off the list. Soon I had only one item left. I kept plowing away, and before I knew it, I was finished everything I had required myself to do for the day. I couldn't believe how it felt. I felt free. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was so full of energy. I had not completed a to do list for longer than I can remember.
I still had lots of time left in my day, and, since I was free to do anything I wanted, I chose something that I had wanted to do for a long time, and I started working on it. Soon that was finished, and I moved on. As my day progressed, I kept choosing things to do that I had wanted to do for a long time.
At the end of my day I took stock of everything I had accomplished. I made a list of all of the things I had done. To my amazement, my list of things accomplished in the day contained far more that anything I had accomplished in a single day for a long, long time.
Obviously, I could have put quite a few more than 4 things on my to do list for that day. But I had kept it to the absolute "must dos" and it had served me well. I was tempted to create a to do list with maybe 8 things for the next day...but I fought the urge. I stuck to the 4 most important things and kept my list short for the next day.
It may, or may not, come as a surprise to you, but the next day was a repeat of the first. I got far more done than I could ever have anticipated...AND I ENJOYED DOING IT! Suddenly the things that I wanted so much to do, but that had started to overwhelm me, had become enjoyable again. They started to shine with a renewed luster...I was attracted to them again.
I have to admit that it was a difficult decision to cut my to do list back, instead of keep adding things that I knew wouldn't get done...but it was the best decision I have ever made. I changed my thinking. I changed my perspective. I changed how I approached my life. This might seem like a very small change, but let me tell you, that it has actually made a very large change. I am far more productive, and I am happy. My days are free, and I love it.
I have only been at this for a couple of weeks now...(and my to do list is up to 5 items...but that is as large as I will let it get. I will even pare it back further if I have large items on my list), but I have a completely different outlook on life. I am so changed that I have had people ask me what has happened. They can tell that I am different. This really had a very swift affect on my life and my attitude.
I challenge you to pare your to do list down to the most essential. Put only the important things on the list, and then, when those are done, allow yourself to do the things that most draw you to them at the time...after all, everything beyond the list is a bonus! I am sure you will find yourself to be far more productive. I am positive that you will find yourself lighter in spirit than you have been for a while.
Try this out - put it on your to do list to try it out. Let our community know how it turns out for you by leaving a comment.