August 6, 2017 – Working Through the Pile of To Dos

This post is more of a practical than philosophical one.  Over the past few weeks life and schedules have been pretty hectic.  It is pretty standard and I know that times like this come and go, but I found myself once again getting a little stressed because of all of the projects and items on my todo list that kept demanding my attention.  When this starts to happen, I have learned that I can either attack the stress head on, or I can let it overcome me and be swamped by the projects.

There are a couple of strategies I employ to attack the stress that I want to share with you.  If they help you, that is great, if not, it’s still pretty good advice you can pass on.  The first thing that happens when I start getting stressed about the ever-growing pile of responsibilities is that I start forgetting little things, thereby adding to the stress.  So, the first thing I do is I mind map all of my projects just to get my thoughts down on paper.  For some people, creating a list works, but for me, I work better with Mind Maps, because of their flexible structure.  While this is a good start, the second step is the one that really makes the difference for me, though.

My second step is to do something small from my list that has a definite beginning and end.  This is an important step, because it takes my mind from the act of planning and organizing and puts it into accomplishing a task.  By doing something small, I can do it fairly quickly, and, after I complete it, I find my mind and body are both in sync and ready to hit the next thing on the list.  It’s kind of like priming a lawnmower to get it started, by moving from planning to acting to completing, it burns off stress in the activity, focuses mind and body on tackling the list and, ultimately, breaks the stress completely.  Sometimes I have to put a short, achievable task on the list just to get it there, but even that small “fraud” works like magic.

In any case, there are a lot of little “hacks” like this that can get your mind into a different state, when you need to focus…have a great week.


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