One day at a time. Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus. Make a list of everything you need to do, everything you want to do, dump it all out onto paper then make your list for today. Make is small, make it guilt-free, make it manageable.
Staying focused is a constant battle for me. How do you prioritize everything into a list you can actually complete when everything is priority one, everything is due yesterday? You don’t.
The Master List
My “To Do” list is four pages long, typed with three columns in landscape format, literally. Each task is outlined in baby steps which helps me focus a little more. It gets added to daily and sometimes, if I am lucky, subtracted from. There is so much that I need to do and even more that I want. Writing it all down makes me accountable for it to myself and frees up room in my brain so that I can unravel a bit.
Index cards. Godsends. Praise be to the man who invented them. I keep them around for storyboarding but have given them new purpose lately. Each evening before bed I limit myself to ten (10) tasks the next day, one card to be completed in a 16 hour span if I want a solid 8 hours of sleep. You would think that would be easy, listing 10 things. It isn’t.
Filtering out 10 from the barrage of “but this needs to be done now” in my head is pretty hard actually. I invariably make notes in the very small margins all the while rationalizing that if I get done with everything else I can start on these next. Not, it’s sabotage. It quickly turns the simple, concise list into a non-condusive-to-getting-anything-done conglomeration of disorganized notes.
Worst case, I pull out another card and force it to ten things. I tell myself, “I might not be here tomorrow, what ten things do I have to do to before I leave this life?” I restrict this to the obvious day-to-day instead of the “See Paris.Visit Africa.” things that I want to accomplish before I hopefully pass at a very old age. That is another list altogether. For this one it is the simpler, the better.
That Sense of
We all need that little pat on the back, that little sense of accomplishment to keep us going. Without it life seems to just drudge on from one day to the next, the lines in between blurred or merging. Making a small list of things for each day gives you the satisfaction of being able to mark it off which is the biggest motivator to forward momentum.
We all want to be Super Woman, Super Mom, the Perfect Partner. In reality, what we should strive for is being the Best Me we can be. Be yourself with your busy schedules and your less-than-perfect track records. Allow yourself to move forward and make things right no matter how long it takes you instead of allowing guilt and regret to immobilize you. “Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.” (Robert Schuller)
So that is where I am at now: Moving forward, making things right one thing at a time, slowly but surely, realizing that I am not perfect and letting myself off the hook for the sake of forward momentum.
Now to make tomorrow’s list.