Give Your To-Do List (And Yourself) a Break
Every morning when I wake up, my monkey mind inevitably roams to the realms of my to-do list. Iíll bet you can all relate. We wake up, stretch, rub our eyes, then BOOM. The chatter begins. There is grocery shopping to do. Child care to deal with. Meetings, work, presentations, homework, whatever. Youíve barely just opened your eyes, and already, youíre feeling anxious.
What must I do today?
My daily list always includes writing for Owning Pink, checking email, tweeting on Twitter, paying attention to my daughter, cooking healthy meals, getting outside and exercise, meditating, catching up on Facebook, working on my next book, returning phone calls, and making time for sex with my husband. These days, my to-do lists also include seeing clients at the Owning Pink Center, planning my upcoming book tour, and meeting with men and women who are interested in co-creating with me. When I look at my list, it can be quite daunting. Chances are, if I expect to accomplish everything on my to-do list daily, I will fail, and then I will feel crappy about failing. Iíll bet most of you are nodding your heads right about now. Youíre thinking of your own to-do lists and feeling overwhelmed. We all try to accomplish so much that we forget the ultimate goal- happiness and inner peace.
You’re not Superhuman
One way Iíve learned to bring inner peace to my life is to recognize that I canít possibly be Superwoman. I am flawed. I am human. If I expect to check off everything on my daily list, I will always let myself down. Who wants to feel like a failure every day? So I opt not to let that happen. Instead, when I think about my upcoming day, I consciously choose what I will let slide. Today is Monday and I spent all weekend with my family, so I will probably put my nose to the grindstone and neglect my daughter a bit. I will eat left-overs so I donít have to cook. I will probably skip meditating (sadly, itís too often the first one to go). Today, I will focus on writing my book today. I will try to go for a hike because I skipped it the last two days so I could spend time with my family. My husband and I have a sex date tonight, so I will stop work early enough to be present for him.
Be mindful about what you won’t accomplish today
This way, at the end of the day, I have been mindful of what gets done and what doesnít. Instead of kicking myself for not checking off everything on my list, I will pat myself on the back for doing the things I chose to do. I will celebrate being good enough, even though I let some things slide. I will honor myself for a job well done. I will remember that inner peace is more important than to-do lists and accomplishments.
What about you? Are you ready to give yourself a break? Here are a few tips on how.
1. Make a list of all the things you plan to accomplish for each day of this week. Label them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.
2. Review your list and determine whether thereís any chance youíll actually accomplish everything on your list. Really. Can you do it all?
3. Sort through every dayís list and decide what you will let slide. Try not to let the same thing slide every day. (I know. I know. Iíve gotta start meditating). Be mindful of how you give yourself permission to be human. Decide what you most want to accomplish and put stars by those items. Now cross out as many of the unstarred items as you possibly can. Commit to putting your full attention towards those items youíve deemed most important.
4. Surrender the rest of the things on the list. Let them go. Set the intention of letting them slide. If you find yourself with extra time at the end of the day, you can always add them back on, but then youíll feel a huge sense of accomplishment, instead of the usual sense of failure.
5. At the end of the day, when youíve made progress on your starred items, celebrate your success. Reward yourself by massaging your feet with a scented lotion or sitting down with a good book. Honor the good work you have done, reveling in the sense of accomplishment you feel.
Try this out. I swear it works. It doesnít mean youíre a slacker. It just means youíre being kind to yourself. Youíre giving yourself permission to be human. Youíre honoring the hard work you do every day trying to keep life moving. Youíre bringing yourself one step closer to inner peace. Be compassionate with yourself. Practice loving-kindness towards YOU.
What will you let slide today?
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