Do you ever walk into your office, work station, or your kitchen and start running through all of the things you need to do in your head? You start thinking about all of the things that you need to do or that need to be done and pretty soon you’re overwhelmed. Or maybe you can even get past that part. Maybe you’re one of these Type A people who can start thinking in a whirl wind and knows to grab a pen and paper to start writing it all down. You know that you need to start a list for yourself, another for your spouse, another one that has groceries on it. Then once it’s all done you start wondering how you’ll prioritize and strategize to make the most of your time and multitask when possible (I mean starting laundry always comes first because it can be running when you’re not, right?) How long does it take to get to the point that you’re actually getting things done? How much time do you spend planning the Saturday morning chores or the Tuesday afternoon focus time that you’re not actually accomplishing anything?
I am so guilty of this. I mean, I am absolutely an achiever but I can get so wound up in planning and thinking about what needs to get done that I’m not actually doing the things sometimes. I walk into the kitchen and think about the meal planning, and grocery shopping I should do and wasn’t I going to clean out that drawer and wash the fridge shelves? So I get out the cookbooks for inspiration and start running the hot water for dishes and then decide I should really know my husband’s schedule for the week before getting started. So I walk to the bedroom thinking I’ll start a load of laundry and see the baskets are all full with clean clothes that still need to be folded and put away. I decide I’ll make up a little ground at work and I turn on my laptop and spend it answering emails because I can’t decide what to do first on projects. At that point I realize I still have the water running.
I know I’m not the only one. The results of this end up being half done jobs all over the place or the work that did get done is not the top priority. It’s frustrating. It’s hard to make traction when your brain is pulling you in other directions and telling you to focus on other things. I personally blame Mark Zuckerberg (only half serious of course because we all have control over how we spend our minutes and where we focus our attention). The rise of all of these social media platforms has caused our minds to rewire in a sense. We are so used to new information, the new shiny object, the new pretty pictures shifting our attention as we scroll that we start doing it when we aren’t scrolling. When you run through your social feed you view, read, or watch everything for a matter of seconds and I don’t know about you but when the video says it is 57 seconds long and it encourages me to ‘wait for it…’ or ‘you gotta see how this ends,’ I typically don’t even watch it because, who has that kind of time?
The solution, that I am trying and failing at every single day, is training our brains back. Prioritizing to put first things first and training ourselves to slow down, to think clearly, to do the one thing and then decide on the next. Know your tent poles, what is most critical to you and your success and state of mind get that done. Then, if you know you need to finish x project just do that. Don’t move to the next room. Don’t start a color coded list. Don’t peruse Pinterest for ideas on the thing. Just do it and then move on to the next. Even if everything that was on the to-do list doesn’t get done you’ll have the most critical and a few other things all tied up in a bow. Let’s be honest, the whole list wasn’t getting done the other way either.