How To Empty Your To-Do List Each Day

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your massive to-do list? This has been my primary state of being for as long as I can remember. Always feeling behind and like there has been way more assigned to me than I could ever possibly get done.

A Streamlined List Is a Streamlined Life

My dream has been to live a streamlined life. For a long time I have known this is a possibility for me, but not how to make it happen.

Since watching a few Esther Hicks videos during the recent 2016 Hay House World Summit, I have been reinvigorated to follow the principles of the Law of Attraction. I’m focusing on how I’m feeling as my main concern in life as the way to getting my life to match the dream in my mind. continue…

My To-Do List Is a Junk Pile

For YEARS my to-do list has been my Everest. I just cannot let it go.

I have read productivity books like Getting Things Done by David Allen and Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern, and experimented with all different kinds of planners from Franklin Covey to The Hipster.

So far, I have come very close to my vision of getting this thing cleared off by the end of the day, or at the latest, the end of the week. I know it is possible, no matter what anyone says. Which is always some version of that doesn’t sound very realistic whenever I tell people about my dream of a beautiful, emptied to-do list on a regular basis.

I know there will always be things to do. That isn’t my problem. My point is having a list that doesn’t contain things that were due yesterday, or from 2 months ago.

I want to wake up in the morning, knowing that I will have the time I need to do all the things I want to do that day, AND get done whatever else needs to get done. Not working until 7 p.m., not skipping out on my walk because I’m too busy. Not sleeping less than 7 hours (I realize whenever I have a baby that last one might be negotiable, but you get the point).

My To-Do List Is Cluttering My Life

It dawned on my yesterday that my to-do list of unfinished, overdue tasks is creating clutter in my life. Not only is having this list of unfinished stuff like having junk piles all over my house, but by taking up time that I could spend dealing with physical clutter, it is literally contributing to the clutter in my life and my days. continue…

Give Yourself Permission to Take an Opposite Day

I can’t remember where the idea of opposite day came from as a kid. Was it a show on Nickelodeon? Or something that was done at school? Or just something ridiculous kids did and thought was funny? Not sure, but this morning this idea of Opposite Day came to me as I was waking up and starting to think about all the things I had to do today (which I do every morning).

I try to stay on alert for self-defeating thoughts in my mind throughout the day. I know that I slip a lot and think thoughts that bring what I don’t want (opposite: It’s easy for me to think thoughts about only what I want).

Well, there you go – an example of what I mean by Opposite Day. This morning the thought “how will I get this all done?” popped into my head (like everyday). Then I thought: why not think the opposite when thoughts come to me that are about exactly what I don’t want? continue…

Do you have enough time to sleep enough?

How much sleep do you get each night? How much do you wish you could get? How much do you think you need?

I have been listening to Thrive by Arianna Huffington on audio book. I could have used this book about three years ago. But as it is, I found it after I already found my way out of an overwhelmed existence. There is only one word that comes to mind as I listen to Arianna’s insights into the downfalls of the chronic stress so many people find themselves buried under: validating.

I thought it was just me. I thought I was the only one who felt they had too much to do and not enough time to do it all. Not even if I stopped sleeping altogether (which I seriously entertained as a temporary option).

Somehow, over a period of time, with a big thanks to meditation, I developed a more balanced approach to my life. I started to realize that I was not the only one who could do all the things I felt obligated to. And that I could let some things go and make my world a much better place in the process.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far there has been a substantial focus on the importance of mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and sleep.

I have a pretty good grip on my yoga and meditation practice. Unfortunately, I have viewed sleep as a more optional component of a healthy lifestyle. continue…

The Beauty of the Dry Cleaning Delivery Service

Sometimes you just don’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything. Call it lazy, or call it smart, but I love it when I discover that a business delivers – bonus points if they do it for free!

My latest delivery discovery is the dry cleaners. I have been going to this place for about a year. I mean, I have been procrastinating on going to this place on a regular basis for a year.

As much as I have tried to get into the routine of going once a week or once every few weeks, I have inevitably let the to-be-dry cleaned pile of clothes pile up to the point where the closets are getting low on supplies (mostly my fiancé’s work clothes).

I also have tried to get in the habit of ironing his clothes, but so far, I have proven to fail at that wifely duty. Sigh. continue…

Do This next Time You Feel Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed has almost become the accepted normal state of being, unfortunately. It seems to have gotten worse in recent times.

Email (many times multiple email accounts), tasks, mundane tasks, household tasks, social media, keeping up with everything on the internet, staying fit and healthy. All that on top of trying to enjoy life and relax every once in a while. And sometimes sleep.

Self-Care First, to-Do List (and Everything Else) Second

I am reading You Can Create An Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson. The book is written in first person by Cheryl, but chronicles a series of meetings between Cheryl and Louise regarding how to live a peaceful life (which seems to be somewhat of an exception in our culture).

Cheryl: “For too many years I was in a perpetual battle with my to-do list, desperately racing to get things done so I could finally relax and enjoy my life. Now I relax and enjoy my life first.”

Louise: “I try to give myself two hours before I face people. I like to be able to do things in a leisurely way.”

The version of myself several years ago would have argued that I didn’t have time for self-care because I had too much to do. Now I know better. continue…

How Do People Keep up with Everything?

Do you ever feel totally, completely, utterly overwhelmed by…everything? This is how I used to feel. All the time. Now, I am getting better. And I would like to share what I am doing to feel excited about what I have to do rather than squished. Because who likes going around feeling squished all the time?

The Seasonal Review

The seasonal review is my process for reviewing all the things I have to and want to do in my life four times a year, at approximately three month intervals. In the past, I have done this at times that made sense to me, not necessarily coinciding with the financial quarters.

This year, I am kicking off my seasonal review with my birthday. This puts my other seasonal reviews this year at mid-April, mid-July, and mid-October. I like these times because there isn’t much out of the ordinary going on in my life in April and July, and October is a good time to gear up for the holiday season (yes, I am already thinking about the holidays…too soon?).

The seasonal review is a time to check-in and see what direction you are headed in, and if that is actually the direction you would like for your life. I get sad when I think about weeks, months, and years going by with no real progress being made. Who wants to look back and wonder what they have been doing for the past five years?

But I get excited when I think about my ideas and what I would like to see change in the future. I like to do the seasonal review to get myself motivated to take action on my ideas that might otherwise get neglected, lost to the shuffle of an overly busy lifestyle. No thank you!

I want my to-do list and days to be filled with things that make me feel joyful and peaceful. How about you? continue…

Meditation Mondays: Refuse to Be Overwhelmed

Today is the day many people return to work after the holidays. Today, I refuse to be overwhelmed.

I refuse to be overwhelmed by my multiple email inboxes, and any new task that comes my way. I refuse to be overwhelmed by requests from others, or the feeling that there isn’t enough time to get it all done.

Been there, done that, no thank you.

Today, I firmly choose to remain calm in the face of whatever drama I might come across. It is my choice, and no one can make me feel anything other than calm except me.

I simply refuse to entangle myself with any sense that everything isn’t going to be okay. I just can’t. continue…

Stop Saying This Phrase for a More Peaceful Life

Ever catch yourself saying “I’m busy”, and wonder if there will ever be a time again that this phrase doesn’t apply to your life?

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much my thoughts contribute to the overall feel of my life, particularly the feeling that there is never enough time and always too many tasks. It is not only thoughts, but also the spoken words those thoughts generate, that are creating our realities.

The popular phrases that come to mind are:

“‘I’m busy.”

“I’m too busy for/to [blank].”

“I was too busy to get around to it.”

Sound familiar? continue…

Change Your Thoughts to Get Things Done

I am no stranger to feeling overwhelmed. If you often find yourself in a similar boat, continue reading for a simple trick to help you get things done.

Getting Things Done Effortlessly

When the bed isn’t made, the whole bedroom feels like a disaster area to me. I like everything to be put away and tidy because it makes me feel peaceful. Dirty clothes everywhere and a messed up bed nag at me and call my name to fix them.

As much as I want to be a person who hops out of bed in the morning, taking the 15 seconds it takes to make the bed, this does not happen all the time. Maybe somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of the time, but no where near 100. An unmade bed is not my biggest problem in life, but it’s just as good as any example of something that can easily be neglected (like an email inbox, among other things).

The other day I was about to take a shower in the afternoon (I like to have the bed made before my shower, because, well, who doesn’t?), and I was looking at the bed thinking, “ugh, I wish that bed was made!” but not motivated enough to actually do it in the moment.

I am certain I picked this trick up from one of the countless self-help books or You Tube videos I have read or recently watched, but the thought came to my mind that I could choose to be grateful that the bed was already made.

I thought about the many glorious days I go to take a shower and the bed is already made. Why couldn’t this day be one of those, if not in the physical world, then in my mind?

I went on to the shower, not lifting a finger (I wasn’t planning on lifting one anyway). I knew that the bed would eventually, once again, be made and pretty and tidy. And feeling bad about not having it done wasn’t going to help the situation; those thoughts could only make it worse. continue…

Five Quotes to Remind You That You Can Do It!

We all have dreams. Things we want to do in life. For ourselves, for others, for the world. But sometimes it feels impossible. Everything we have to do can seem overwhelming, and fool us into thinking that we don’t have time.

But good news. We have something better than time. And it’s called a choice. I recently started watching Alex Beadon’s videos on You Tube, and the other day she said something that I have never heard before:

“Remember that this is your life, and that you are 100% in control of it, and that you don’t have to let it overwhelm you.”

As a person who has felt overwhelmed for years, this little gem came as quite a relief! I never thought of feeling overwhelmed as a choice before. I have felt victimized by the many demands on my time, preventing me from living the life I dream could one day be for me. continue…

How To Motivate Yourself to Get Things Done

With so many distractions at our fingertips, it can be a major challenge to maintain focus on any one given task for more than a few seconds. Emails are constantly knocking on the doors of our minds, the internet is beckoning us at every turn, and our tummies are frequently in need of fuel. What’s a busy girl to do?

In this post, I share how to motivate yourself to park it in one place for at least 20 minutes, no matter what email has emerged or what snack might be calling you, personally, to come join it in the kitchen. Before we start, pull out whatever to-do list you are working from at the moment. Keep it handy. continue…

Make Time to Move Forward

“Once you become consciously aware of just how powerful your thoughts are, you will realize that everything in your life is exactly how you allow it to be.” — Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

I get all bogged down by my excuses more often than I would like to admit. There are so many things I want to do in a day, and my most common complaint and excuse is that I don’t have enough time.

Not enough time to cook a low carb meal, not enough time to work on my blog, not enough time to go for a walk. I suppose the counter argument could be that I am trying to do too many things in a day, but what if I’m not? What if it is the perfect amount of activities and just letting go of my excuses and complaining would bring in that extra touch of time I needed all along to get things done?

Procrastination Battles

Things either get done or they don’t. Perhaps an over-simplification, but I am so tired of procrastinating. The worst thing in recent times is that I have somehow repackaged my procrastination as a lack of time. I tell myself I am constantly busy and just couldn’t get to it, which leaves me feeling confused and betrayed. continue…

I Am Not Getting a Sabbatical Anytime Soon, & I Have to Accept That

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

I remember when I was younger thinking that older people who took sabbaticals were really boring. Ha! What I wouldn’t give for a sabbatical!

I have dreamed of taking a sabbatical for years now. I’m not even really sure what the official sabbatical duration is, but I am guessing it’s at least a few months. I actually took my own mini-sabbatical this past January.

I loved it. I loved every second of it. I took a nice long walk almost every day, I woke up early just because I was excited to have the whole day to do whatever I wanted, and I did yoga and meditated almost everyday. During the day I got to spend time reading and writing, and had the time to take care of the house and get things done. And felt relaxed!

Yesterday, I fell slightly ill and ended up sleeping for pretty much the whole day. Mostly feeling depressed about all of my nagging tasks and wondering how I would ever get them all done. Hence the first Blogust fail.

Why I Want a Sabbatical

I want to feel like I have time to write my book, make my blog a success, take walks, do yoga, meditate, and take care of all of my personal tasks (including planning a wedding). Not to mention crocheting. I love to crochet! When does a working girl have time to crochet? I would like to know? There are winter hats to be made, people! continue…

A Glass of Wine in the Bathtub and a Mid-week Pick-Me-Up

“All I want to do right now is have a glass of wine in the bathtub, pay a cleaning service to clean the kitchen, then order pizza and eat cookies all night.” – me, about ten minutes ago

The middle of the week is my Monday. I know this. I have observed it about myself in the past, yet somehow I am still blindsided by the overwhelming feeling that I will never get caught up that often hits me on Wednesdays and Thursdays. So far, I have eaten four cookies over the past two days. Um, and several handfuls of M & M’s. Not my shining moments of self-control. And I still want to order pizza. The cleaning service is a bit ridiculous, I will admit. But the glass of wine in the bathtub might win.

Taking 100% Responsibility

I am pretty sure the times I feel overwhelmed I am not taking 100% responsibility. I learned about taking 100% responsibility from chapter one of Jack Canfield’s book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Jack Canfield says to take 100% responsibility for everything in our lives. Whether or not we think we are responsible for everything in our lives is irrelevant. Take responsibility for it anyway. Taking responsibility for everything that happens in our lives means we are coming from a place of being empowered rather than the place of playing the victim.

Oh and have I played the victim! In the moment, it feels easier to try to blame everyone and everything outside of myself for my present moment misery. Too many things on my to-do list? Not enough time to get it all done? Why not repeat over and over in my mind how everyone but me is responsible for it, rather than just doing it? continue…

Moving Series: 7 Things to Do After a Move

“The middle of every successful project looks like a disaster.” – Rosabeth Moss Cantor

We moved into our new home the Friday before Memorial Day, and got engaged that same evening in Sedona, AZ. It probably isn’t surprising that it has taken almost two months to get settled into our new home, and hardly one item of wedding planning has happened.

Over the past few weeks, I have started to feel overwhelmed by the various tasks associated with moving that I wanted to have completed by now, as well as the wedding plans that I have the same feelings about. Today I am planning to wrap up my post-move tasks and to also move forward on wedding plans and other personal tasks over the next few weeks.

Ever since before we moved, I have kept a list of things to do before, during, and after our move. Looking back, I am grateful that we have accomplished so much. I tend to feel bogged down by unfinished tasks and projects, but when I look back at what has already been completed, I can remember feeling the same bogged down feeling when things that are now complete were incomplete.

For example, when we lived in a temporary apartment and were looking for a house, I was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the task of finding a home that we liked. Fast forward a few months, and here we are! I have to remind myself that projects in progress often feel uncomfortable, and become comfortable with that temporary feeling of discomfort.

Here are a few items either already complete or currently on my reminders list related to our move: continue…

This Time of Year

Christmas is upon us! Merry Christmas Eve! ‘Tis the season of joy, giving, and feeling overwhelmed and majorly stressed.

Things never seem to be just perfect at Christmastime, as much as we might like them to be. I know I do. This time last year I could not begin to get a grip on relaxation. Fast forward one year, and there is no comparison for me. I have still felt behind on my Christmas preparations, but this time I am continually reminding myself to relax and it is actually working.

Prepare to be Calm

I attribute this feeling to a few habits I have been working to develop over the past several months. This past fall I sat down and converted all of my goals and tasks into a personalized system (my hipster) that I created to suit my unique needs (based on recommendations in productivity books). For so many years I could never get a grip on my to-do lists, especially my work-related to-do lists.

Over the past few months, working from my new system and a renewed sense of self-worth, I am proud to say that I was able to truly get my work-related task lists down to zero before my month long mini-sabbatical that I am currently enjoying. It is an amazing feeling to know that I have done everything I needed to, and to be completely free from the worry that overflowing task lists and inboxes can induce.

Exactly one year ago, I had arranged to have a week off over Christmas, but ended up not enjoying the time at all because I had so many unfinished work tasks that I unfortunately spent my whole vacation worrying about. Never again! continue…

The Seasons of Our Lives

As I mentioned the other day, lately I have been thinking of my life more in seasons.

There are sooo many things we do that are recurrent: brushing our teeth, showering, replacing mascara, washing the sheets, making plans for Christmas, buying birthday gifts, buying toilet paper…and on, and on, and on. I have started a list of such recurrent activities and right now, I am up to 92 items (just for my personal life).

In some ways that sounds like a lot, but in others it doesn’t even scratch the surface. This list actually doesn’t include things that are so automatic as taking a shower everyday, but I did put things like “floss” and “take vitamins”, because these are daily activities that I have struggled with getting into a solid daily habit of doing.

As with my goals and affirmations, I have created a notebook in Evernote to contain these items – one item per note. This has been one of those (crazy?) personal productivity ideas of mine for several years now, which I couldn’t quite hack because I never felt connected to the list. continue…

The Joy of Starting

Or the agony; take your pick. Sometimes it is fun to jump into a project, while other times the initial enthusiasm is met with a crippling paralysis due to the many, many choices we are presented with any time we want to do anything new.

So you want to take up yoga? How do you choose between the 25 different yoga studios (or videos) and variety of styles available? How about starting a blog? There are a seemingly infinite amount of choices in font, color, layout, images, etc. continue…