Ticking off all the items on your to-do list can be extremely satisfying. It sends the same satisfaction to our brain as the woosh of an email or finally reaching inbox zero.
For so long, being busy has held a social badge of honor, likened to the status of success and productivity.
If you’ve been working yourself to the bone, you’re not alone.
Often we get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we forget exactly why we’re completing each task. Our threshold for juggling all-the-things expands until we’re stretched thin. We say yes until our to-do list is stacked to the ceiling, and we’re weighed down by the pressure to get it all done.
Hello burn-out. We’re exhausted by the never-ending list and fed-up from juggling it all at once.
When this happens, you can train your mind to rethink your priorities.
Here are six ways to instantly reduce overwhelm:
1. Focus on One Single Task
Ever found yourself going into a room for something then wondering why you’re there? You might be experiencing a form of mental fatigue. Psychologists have determined that it’s physically impossible for human-beings to multitask.
What has been perceived as multitasking is different brain sections taking turns to complete the task. However, the brain can’t complete the same task using the same part of the brain. The mental effort it takes to switch between tasks adds to emotional exhaustion, creates confusion, and sucks up valuable time.
Consciously choose to do one thing for a certain period of time rather than flicking between tasks, and you’ll feel more at ease.
2. Reframe Your Mindset
Swap out the phrase “have to do” with “get to do.” This simple shift in your thinking encourages gratitude. By considering the task an opportunity or a blessing, you appreciate how much you already have rather than focusing on what you still need to do.
It’s a gentle reminder that you are always in control of your choices. If something is no longer serving you, find a way to outsource or delegate.
3. Eat The Frog
We’re all prone to procrastination from time to time. Instead of distracting yourself with busy work that may not be that important, tackle the most urgent and important task first. This will relieve huge amounts of stress and make the remaining tasks seem like a breeze in comparison.
Accomplishing urgent and tasks first may even inspire you to rethink the relevance of your remaining list.
Consider what is urgent and what is important and which are both. This tells you what you need to prioritize. If something on your to-do list doesn’t fit into these categories, remove it.
Watch your list shrink to half its size! Your time is precious, so don’t spend it doing minor tasks with no weight or meaning…
It’s ok to ask for help. In fact, as social creatures, we crave that feeling of doing good for someone else. Examine your list and consider the team around you. Is there something you can outsource?
If you’re a control freak, try to remember that done is better than perfect.
6. Be Mindful
By saying yes to completing something on your list, you are saying no to doing something else. If you’re still getting an endorphin rush every time you tick things off your to-do list, ask yourself how else you could be spending your time.
By being mindful of each task, you constantly re-evaluate its purpose, appreciating its reason for being, and enjoying the process.
Remember, there’s always an easier way.
Busy is not badge-worthy; there is no gold star simply for ticking items off your list.
By rethinking your to-do list, you may find you’re more productive, invigorated, and motivated than you thought possible.