To do lists. Yes, most of us have resorted to using to do lists in one form or fashion to keep up with the many tasks to be done at home and at work. The truth is, our brains just don’t have the capacity to reliably hold all the things we must do to keep our lives running efficiently and effectively. Downloading the many tasks roaming around in our brains to an external list is also a great way to lighten the mental load we carry.
Converting tasks you must do to writing not only will reduce stress, but it will also ensure that many more tasks get done. Have you ever had the experience of losing one of your to do lists, only to find it later and discover that you’d actually done many items on the list? Something about the tactile/kinesthetic act of writing down tasks seems to anchor them in the brain, making it possible to remember some of them without the help of the list.
So, empty your brain of your to dos onto a list. Then watch for an increase in your productivity!
Today I coached a woman who began our session saying, “It’s been a wild week. I’ve really beenspinning.” I typically hear reports of spinning from clients who have ADHD. Since I’m fairly certain this client does not have that brain based challenge, I was curious about her spinning. Was the catalyst of her spinning thoughts and feelings on the inside or was she spinning in reaction to things happening on the outside, happening with people or events in her life.
When I asked her to describe her spinning, when it started, how she experienced it, it was revealed that the spinning began when she’d gotten drawn into the drama of several family members, people who led chaotic lives filled with challenges of their own making. Her intention had been to be a source of support, but in the process she was adversely affected by their unpredictable behaviors and unintentional disregard of her needs and schedule. She began in spin in anxiety, lost sight of her goals, and lost a whole day that could have been spent getting important tasks done.
My client values being responsible and keeping her word. When caught up trying to meet the needs of others who don’t share the same values, she lost her center and begin to spin in response to their spinning. Together we identified a need to set clear boundaries with family members, letting them know under what conditions she is willing to help and saying no to requests that will disrupt her life and could send her spinning again.
What my client sacrificed when reacting to the needs and chaotic conditions of loved ones was her own ability to stay grounded and be productive. She lost a day of work and her peace of mind. How is your productivity being affected by the chaotic lives of others? What boundaries do you need to set?