How to cure the curse of ‘do do do’ |

How to cure the curse of ‘do do do’

I found myself rushing again.

I could feel the heat growing in my chest.

The tension building in  my forehead.

My mental to do list had taken on Sisyphian proportions (you know the endless pushing of the boulder to the top, just to have it roll down to the bottom again.)

In that rushing, I wasn’t paying attention.

To what my sons were saying to me.

To what my wife was asking me.

I did the drive to school on autopilot.

I couldn’t have told you what the traffic was like that day.

Back at my desk, I ploughed on, trying to tick off things that needed to be done.

For clients.

For home.

For my business.

I was scattered.

Deep in a task and then, like a free diver coming up and gasping for air, in the momentary experience of disorientation as another task came to mind.

I was good at getting things done.

But was I really focusing on the right things?

The things that were most needed?

Most urgent?

There was a time that living and working this way, ruled me.

I’d wake up in the night, remembering another thing that had to be done that I’d forgotten.

Feeling wound up tight again.

Ruled by my endless to do list.

Now I see things differently.

Exploring this theme with a client this week, we looked at a simple shift that can shake that always on, always busy feeling.

It’s so simple and obvious, but if we’ve got into the habit of chasing our tails, it goes easily by the wayside.

It’s made up of these three steps:

1 Slow down

2 Get quiet

3 Get intentional

1 Slow down

It can feel counterintuitive and challenging to slow yourself down when you have too much to do.

But when we’re rushing, we are reactive, we have less time for clear thinking and using our better judgement.

The act of slowing down brings us closer to clarity and we begin to see the wood for the trees.

It can be really hard for driven people to give themselves permission to slow down.

If your identity is tied up in being a ‘doer’, the feeling of not doing can trigger anxiety and discomfort.

Be ready to ride that out.

2 Get quiet

Allow your mind to settle.

You can help this process by taking a few intentional breaths.

Or get into gentle stretches.

Read or listen to something relaxing.

Enjoy a drink slowly.

As the mind settles, clarity comes.

Your focus changes.

You can see the whole game rather than just focusing on the next move.

3 Get intentional

Here’s where you get leverage from your quiet mind.

When you look at your to do list or whatever feels urgent, you can start asking yourself:

Is this true?

Is this needed?

What is the risk if I don’t do this?

Is there someone else who would be better placed to do this?

How urgent and / or important is this?

I am in service here or trying to please?

What’s my boundary here?

What do I need to say no to?

When I say yes, what else am I saying no to?

From these three steps, you create the spaciousness to take command of your day, your tasks, your way of being.

From frenetic to free.

From charged to chilled.

I often hear the worry, ‘If I’m not full on, I won’t get it all done.’

This worry isn’t helpful or true, in my experience.

The slowing down and additional spaciousness allows you to see and choose what is most important both right now and in the bigger picture.

For you to reflect on this week:

How intentional are you about your day / things to do?

What stories or ideas of yourself do you have attached to being busy and productive?

What’s your relationship to slowing down?

Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash