Taking Your Day One Step at a Time
Sometimes I find myself looking two or three days down the road and trying to hold everything I need to do in my head at the same time and it gets overwhelming really fast. That’s part of the reason I’m both impressed by and feel sorry for the people who don’t use to-do lists or calendars. Anyway, my point is that if we’re constantly trying to keep track of the next 10 things we need to do, life can become quite daunting.
So don’t. Just keep the next thing on your mind and take it one step at a time. When you hit a snag, deal with it and take the next step. When you have an appointment, show up and take the next step. When your car breaks, your license expires, your forgot your charger at work, you’re struggling to meet a deadline and there’s no food at the house, take a deep breath… and take it one step at a time. There’s no sense in stressing over it.
Start by creating a list that can act as a holding pen for everything in your head. If you think of something you need to do, add it to the list by order of priority. This way you don’t have to keep every ball in the air at the same time but you ensure that you don’t skip the important steps. After you complete a task, just glance at your list and move on to the next one. Keep doing that until the day is finished, you’re exhausted or the ice cream truck comes down your street and distracts you. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done when you’re not mentally exhausted by 9am just from thinking about everything that needs to get done.
If a certain event requires some preparation, add it to your calendar and then add a to-do reminding you to [insert preparatory task here]. Using your calendar and to-do list in concert with one another allows you to have a single point of reference for your next step (to-do list) while staying on a thoughtful, manageable timeline (calendar).
Set your reminders to notify you an appropriate amount of time before your event so you don’t even have to think about it until you get the friendly buzz from your phone. It’s far better to write something down once and forget about it until you must remember it again. By doing so, you relieve your mind of the mental burden allowing you to focus and find your flow state.