The Tyranny of the To-Do List – Part 2

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Last Friday, we explored the physical and mental challenges of living a “must do” life, things that are associated with the need to do too much. We asked you to think about these situations and see if you recognized any of them in your own life. Today, let’s look at some solutions to improve your overall well-being.


Feeling driven to achieve can lead us to become high performance people. But when that drive is taken to extremes, it can result in compulsive behavior that can have disastrous effects on our families, stress levels and health. If you sometimes feel that you are a candidate for the “Most Overworked Person Award,” what can you do about it?


Psychologist Christian Komer, of Grand Rapids, suggested that you try doing nothing for short periods every day. Designate a time to simply sit, without talking, reading or even watching the television. It can help short-circuit compulsive behavior and provide time for reflection that could reveal the feelings behind the behavior. If you find yourself feeling antsy, it’s working!


Try to just wander around for a while, too. Follow your impulses, something compulsive people rarely do but something that can get you back in touch with your own life. Instead of trying to fit more into your day, try doing less, but concentrate on doing it better. And avoid trying to do two things at once. [Recent research indicates that conscious “multitasking” is a fallacy, and that our conscious minds can only focus on one thing at a time, even if the attention given is extremely short. Our Subconscious is already doing plenty of multitasking, as it handles habits, attitudes, heartbeat, breathing. – anything automatic.]


Pace yourself as well. Take some time in the morning to relax and set the tone for the day instead of racing around trying to get a head start on your list of things to do. Create an affirmation such as, “I calmly and easily accomplish what I need to do and take time to enjoy the process as well.”  Then, say it often every day, while you visualize yourself doing just that. Submerge yourself in how good it feels to be in control of your life and your time.


Your mind and body will thank you for it.