Let’s face it – the busiest days are often the most depleting. Regardless of how much we have ‘completed’, we rarely go to bed filled with satisfaction. We drive ourselves through several tasks to the point of exhaustion, and then wait for a ‘chill day’ on the weekend to balance things out for us.
We’re kidding ourselves if we think that this all-or-nothing attitude serves us. It is not enough to wait until our ‘free-time’ to restore our energy and happiness back to a normal state. The damaging effects of an entire week of full-on stress and anxiety are more damaging and less reversible than we think.
So you need to get your stuff done, but you don’t want to end up with a stress disorder. What can you do?
1. Direct Your Focus.
First understanding that depletion is not an ordinary result of engaging in life but a misuse of energy. You are not suffering because you have a lot to do, but because of the way you do it. Try splitting up and prioritizing your tasks, and plan your day to allocate dedicated time to each task. Impulsive, ‘crisis-mode’ multitasking is the quickest way to scatter your focus and stress yourself out. When you work, do nothing but your work. When you make a call, be nowhere but on the phone. When you clean your house, engage in each chore like a meditative practice. Save the thought spirals and mental to do lists for the time you put aside to write them on paper. When you direct your focus only to the task at hand, your energy flows easier and things get done quicker and more efficiently. If you’re doing and thinking a million things at once, its no wonder that your energy scatters everywhere and you crash. Where the focus goes, your energy flows.
2. Pay Attention to the Little Things.
When you repeat an inevitable thing everyday, you have a solid, predictable basis to measure your transitory emotions of that moment. You can simply transform the experience of your daily duties to be an opportunity to cultivate awareness from day to day. One day it may just flow, and you’ll approach it with excitement and presence, while the next it may give rise to uncomfortable emotions and a feeling of resistance. When you drink your daily green juice, one morning you may feel a body-tingling gratitude for your health and a nourishing infusion of vitality with every sip, while the next morning you may force it down your throat just to say you did something healthy. Notice that: each day will be entirely different. You can measure your reactions and sensations to the days before. It is all relative: one day you may feel more ‘yin’, or passive, and the next more ‘yang’, or active. Neither experience can exist without the other, nor is either superior. It is up to you to take notice and accept the ebbing and flowing of your reactions during these repetitive daily moments. A simple awareness is all it takes to stop the negative emotions on the ‘grumpy’ days from controlling you and making the whole day a ‘write-off’.
3. Set an Intention to be Flexible and Relaxed.
Take a deep breath each morning, get into a state of ‘presence’, and discern your intention for the upcoming day. Put aside the “should-do’s” and “could-do’s” and identify the key “must-do’s” of your day. Next, I challenge you to go beyond that: set a larger intention to remain flexible and relaxed in all that you do. This is the easiest way to maintain a state of presence and acceptance as you strive to complete things, regardless of what obstacles show up (because they will). Flow easily through the structure of the day you have created, and you’ll greet the end of it without any unnecessary built-up tension in your mind and body.
There’s no need to make life more difficult for yourself to appear more busy or challenge your ego. Let your days be crafted with presence, skill, and awareness: you’ll enhance your productivity, AND elevate your sanity and bliss!