What would your life be like if you actually did all the things you ‘planned on’ or ‘wanted’ to do?
Perhaps you have lofty thoughts like, “Someday I would like to clean out the garage” or “I’ve always wanted to get more proficient with Excel” or “I know I would feel better I could just stretch more”.
Or more pressing things like, “I keep forgetting to make an appointment with my doctor” or “the check engine light has been on in my car for weeks now” or “I have a presentation at work next month and I have nothing prepped yet”.
And we think – maybe this weekend I will find time to do (fill in the blank). Except the weekend comes and goes, and (as per usual) your closet still looks the same.
It’s not that we are lazy. So often it is because other things come up that feel as though you should do them right away. They feel urgent in the moment and since you don’t really have anything else specifically planned for that time, you dive in.
We have our to-do lists but there just always seem to be things that don’t get done.
We start to think it might just be the way we are. Maybe it is a character flaw, and we are doomed to a never-ending list of things to do.
What if all of this is merely evidence that we have a human brain. One that came pre-programmed for immediate gratification, the avoidance of anything uncomfortable and a strong desire to be on the couch.
What if nothing had gone wrong? Consider a few simple concepts.
First take a look at your story. Do you believe you are good at getting things done? (be honest) It is an Important question because if you tell yourself you are not good at planning, or not good at follow through, or that you can’t seem to stick to a schedule, guess what? Your brain will always be looking for evidence to prove that true. The story you are telling of how you fall short is not helping your cause. Catch yourself and see if you can just let that one go.
Another effective idea is to get things out of your head and onto paper. When we allow random items to swirl in our brains, we create overwhelm. And overwhelm not only disrupts our strategies and thinking processes but it will also mess with our sleep, making everything harder than it needs to be.
Another critical thing in my books is to schedule specific time on your calendar to get the important things taken care of. Decide in advance when you are going to do it. The not so important things can stay on your to-do list if you prefer and you can do them whenever. But if a task is important enough to use up some brain cells, it is important enough to make a date with it. It’s the difference between ‘we should have lunch sometime’ and ‘let’s get together this Thursday at 1:00.’
Last but not least, learn how to break things down. If you have something you really do want to do and you just can’t get any traction, keep breaking it down until you have an actionable bite. Cleaning the garage for most of us seems akin to climbing Mount Everest. How about you begin with organizing the bikes. Or pulling out all the camping gear. You could set a timer and do as much as you can in 20 minutes. You have been meaning to do it for 2 years now – there is no reason to believe you must get it all done in one day.
Drop the story. Put it on paper. Decide in advance. Make it bite sized.
And then do the happy dance.
It is your life, make it a great one.