I had a great realization the other day, thanks to one of my coaching friends.
There will always be too much to do.
This may sound like a funny realization, but it completely changed my perspective.
I was fretting about my to-do list, which was growing faster than I was tackling it. I also had plenty of things I wanted to do that I was too afraid to write down, fearful of making my list even longer. I was feeling quite overwhelmed!
For some reason, I thought that when I left my corporate job to coach full-time, I would have excess time on my hands. In addition to coaching, I was going to read the books that were piling up on my shelf, spend more time working in the yard, clean the garage, put together the photo album from two summers ago, among a dozen other things. After a few weeks of not working my 8-5 job, I had barely dented this list.
As I was talking through this with my coaching friend, I began to recall all of the times I thought, “When [insert future goal here], then I’ll have more time.”
“When I graduate from college, I’ll have lots of time because I won’t be in class and working all day and having homework to do at night.”
“When summer’s here, I can tackle all of those outdoor projects that have been accumulating over the winter.”
“When I finally finish reading and completing the exercises in that business development book, then I can take a breath of fresh air and spend more time painting.”
“When I get all of the cleaning and laundry done, then I can go play outside.”
After I finished sharing the list of my “I will have more time when” experiences with this coach, I had to just laugh out loud. I am never going to tackle everything on my to-do list!
“So, what do I do?” you ask.
Take a few items off the list and commit to not doing them.
Here’s what I took off of my list:
– putting together the photo album from the sabbatical Paul and I took during the summer of 2007
– cleaning the garage
– figuring out how to make the back yard look decent
Realizing that there is always too much to do means you can decide to not do things. They’re never going to all get done anyway. So do something fun instead!
I stopped thinking about the to-do list for the rest of the day, and I painted. I felt calm and relaxed.
The day after, when I sat down to work, I felt focused. I no longer felt like I had a looming to-do list. As a result, I accomplished a lot in one day. It amazed me that small things that I had been procrastinating practically did themselves! I felt like Superwoman. And at the end of the work day, Paul and I headed out with friends for a bike ride, and I felt fantastic.
What can you take off your to-do list?
What fun thing do you want to do instead? Do it!