We’re always so busy; it’s become a mark of honour. We rush around from one thing to the next, barely pausing for breath and when someone asks how we are, we don’t say fine, we say busy.
Busy makes us feel important. It makes us feel like we’re doing something valuable with our lives. We crave that recognition.
Until it gets too much, and busy turns into overwhelmed.
When did it become acceptable for our to-do lists to morph from something manageable into something physically impossible?
Instead of a memory aid, the list becomes a mountain to climb. Realistically, perhaps a third of the tasks might be completed this week. The rest will spill over into next week and the week after, and on and on.
Some things will never be done, but still we keep them on our lists.
And it’s not easy to let things go. We aren’t all in the position to shape our workloads in the way we’d like. We have a boss to answer to, or a team, or clients who expect certain things to be done. They don’t see the full picture, or understand how long things take.
They want the end result; they don’t see each step it takes to get there. They don’t care that we have other priorities.
So we pile more and more things on to ourselves, until we crack.
We don’t know what it means to relax, to not be stressed or anxious. Busy becomes worn down and we lose the little joys that make it worth getting through the day.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Maybe you can’t bin your to-do list just yet, but I bet there’s something on it that can go. That one thing that, deep down, you know will never get done.
Instead of torturing yourself with it, take a red pen and put a line through it. Or a big fat cross beside it. Even better, go to town and scribble it out.
Take a moment to enjoy the satisfaction of one less thing to do; of realising that it just isn’t important.
Take back control from the to-do list and give yourself space to breathe.