A quick tip on how to keep your weekend from being all work or all play.
A quick tip on how to keep your weekend from being all work or all play.
Many productivity writers share about a M.I.T. list. This Most Important Things list is usually a list of 3 things to do first in your day. I like to think of it as everything you absolutely must do today or there will be consequences. The report that is due today. A bill that has to be paid. And then one project you are working on – exercise, a foreign language, or something you are writing.
For me it’s sometimes more than 3. But when I reach 5 or 6, I notice my list is becoming made up of things I want to do today, but is not required to be done today.
Why is this list needed? Most people reach the end of the day thinking they haven’t done enough.
When you do what is most important first, before the other items on your to do list, you can say, "I have done enough" at the end of the day. What was needed was complete. Less things fall through the cracks because you are aware of what has to be done.
We all plan for our ideal day and forget that normal days mean interruptions and things going wrong.
That’s why important work first. Don’t put it off because you never know what your day holds.
Help yourself say, "I have done enough," tonight.
We have a tendency to look at ways we are powerless. We feel like we have no power in situations, bad habits, relationships, time commitments, or work.
In reality we have choices in all these places.
We also all have great power to affect other people. We’ve all seen the harried, rude person yelling at the cashier. She probably felt frazzled and powerless, but in that moment she had the power to bring light to that situation or darkness. She could have made someone’s day brighter instead of using her power to bring negativity.
I love the picture I saw of a man getting a group to sing as they waited extra long for a train.
If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy can be true. One person’s negativity can affect all the people in the family or work space. As can one person’s radiance.
This is one reason simpler living is important. The more hurried and stress a person is, the harder it is to consciously be the light.
You are affecting every person you encounter every day.
How are you wielding that power?
Mondays can be hard because it’s often started with no thought or planning. I feel more in control if I do some prepping for the week on Sunday.
Prep starts after church when I go through the fridge to check for expired food, make the menu plan and grocery shop. I like to do this Sunday so we have the freshest bread and berries for my husband’s lunches.
While I cook lunch I’ll usually chop extra vegetables or brown some hamburger to make meals easier during the week.
Then if we watch some evening Sunday TV I will make sure my email is caught up from the week as we watch. I also clean out my purse and sort papers from my inbox. I set out clothes and anything I will need for Monday.
Once my husband goes to bed around 9pm I plan my week in the quiet. I check my calendar, see if any to dos need to be moved over to this week and write any next actions down for goals and projects. I also plan my exercise and any fun things I might want to do this week.
I go to bed looking forward to the week ahead. (Usually 🙂
What if there wasn’t anything wrong with your productivity levels? What if you were as productive as you need to be, to do what is yours to do?
Maybe there is nothing wrong with how much you got done today, except guilt over what you didn’t get done today.
You can’t know. The “truth” that you should have done more, may not be the truth.
Sit with those questions and suggestions awhile as your inner critic goes wild. Soon that voice will settle down. Now what does your soul say on the other side of all that?
Often when we don’t finish things we will berate ourselves that we were lazy. It’s an easy scapegoat because unless you are productive 100% of the time, you can tell yourself you are lazy. We could always do more whether it is good for us or not.
If you tell yourself, “You are lazy,” enough you start to believe it. You can do less because being lazy is just in your nature.
Lazy is a convenient excuse with consequences of shame. Not the best combo.
It’s also rarely the reason something didn’t get done.
Most likely you got overwhelmed, couldn’t decide what to do and zoned out to make yourself feel better.
Or maybe you were actually tired and your body said rest. Rest is imperative to a working person. Resting only when the work is done leads to no rest.
Perhaps you needed to make a plan for how to do the task instead of winging it. You might have needed to break the project down into smaller parts.
Next time you say to yourself, “Gah! I am soooo lazy!” instead ask yourself,
“What would make this easier and me more likely to do it?”
You’ll be surprised with the answers.
Last week I was awakened with the idea that you needed a retreat from busyness. Lent starts today and so people are giving up things like pop and chocolate. This is also a great time to practice being less busy.
I made a Friday evening to Sunday evening retreat you can do at home to stop the busy cycle. From the retreat you will have ideas to make the next 40 days less busy.
If you can’t figure out how to get that much time in a row, do one thing each day. Answer just one of the journal questions. Do one of the activities for a bit.
You can get the retreat here for $2.99. Just make sure you go to the page PayPal will send you afterwards so you get to the download page.
“There is no social stigma attached to the frenzy, no peer motivation to slow us down. Rather it is the opposite; busy is popular currency, traded among members of modern society like a precious commodity. Busy is the silkiest cloth at the emporium, the most well-travelled spice. Living with a full schedule speedily typed into a pinging, vibrating device is a highly valued state of being. And, as with any addiction, it becomes self-perpetuating. We feel a rush from being in a rush; we take pride in the breakneck pace at which we travel through our days.”
― Gillian Deacon, Naked Imperfection: A Memoir
After dinner on Monday, I ran errands with my daughter. Then we took a 1 1/2 hour winter hike.
We had some frozen yogurt with my 2 day only coupon. When I got home I did my Declutter Group chat and sent out the transcripts. By this time I was exhausted physically and mentally, so I watched Scorpion with the family. I went to bed early and woke up to a pile of dishes.
Instead of calling myself lazy and losing energy immediately this morning, like I might have done at one time, I acknowledged the time choices I made yesterday. I looked at my schedule to see when I could do dishes. I’ll do them at lunch unless my daughter can do them before work.
We all have time choices to make every day. I chose to spend the evening with my daughter. I am happy with that choice.
Yet I know that is not always the case. Too much of our day is spent lamenting the time choices we already made. Since we all have many things we could be doing it may always feel like you didn’t get the right things done. We don’t have a time travel machine so we don’t know if that is true or not. We act as if are thoughts are true about our time choices.
If something didn’t get done yesterday, look to see when you can do it today and how to make it easier. Leave the mental “I should have done…. I think I should have done….” in yesterday where it belongs.
I stared at the email I was never meant to receive feeling nauseous. What I thought I knew was not what was really happening. Questions: how, why didn’t they say anything, and self-critical thoughts rammed in my head.
I couldn’t do anymore work. There was no more room in my brain for actual thinking. I sat on the couch under my cream blanket in front of the space heater. I turned on Cupcake Wars which wasn’t nearly distracting enough.
At the first commercial I thought instead of running away from this, I might want to deal with it.
So I went to my bedroom and journaled the confusion, anger and anxiety.
Once all those were on the paper I went on to ask myself, “What if the worst did happen?” Turns out I could handle it fine. My contingency plan was solid. I also asked myself, “How likely would it be for that scenario to happen?” “Not very,” was the answer.
I pushed out some imaginary boundaries around myself creating a safe, little bubble around me. Feeling more capable and powerful I went to work instead of watching more Cupcake Wars.
I have been finding it’s actually faster to feel the feelings and dialogue with what’s going on when I am feeling resistance. As opposed to procrastinating on Facebook, cleaning,or getting sucked into the internet or TV. I could end up procrastinating for hours or days not dealing with why I don’t want to do something.
What are you resisting? What are you feeling about it?
In my time class we’ve been talking about how difficult it is not to stay super busy. Often people feel so guilty when they slow down. It’s usually because they are listening to these kinds of beliefs:
A speaker in my Sunday School class today was talking about playing horse with the grandkids. They don’t care how hard he works or what is does. They love him for him and all they want is for him to be present.
But, you have to work through the programming most of us grew up with to be present, to slow down, to simplify.
We are valuable because we are, not because of what we do.
It’s not better to be a hurried, impatient person just because you get more done.
People love us, but not because of what we do or because we do everything right. People love us to connect.
What beliefs do you want to play with sorting out?