Time after time, you see someone who is completely stressed out. The look on their face screams for someone to put them out of their misery. They have a list of things to do that seems to get longer with each day. I have seen so many people burn out at work because they are trying to get through a list of things that “needs to get done.” A list that seems to have no end. By the time they have marked one thing off their list, two or three more things have been added. They tend to stress out about it. They sacrifice personal time, family time, and their health trying to “get everything done.” What they haven’t figured out yet is that, “You will always have something to do. Don’t sweat what isn’t done. Enjoy each step along the way.”
No Rest For The Weary
This is crucial to understand. For some reason we think that if we can just get through our list we can relax a bit. But it rarely happens. You hear quotes like, “no rest for the weary” or “no good deed goes unpunished” or “if you want something done, give it to a busy person.” These quotes are said for a reason. Many people want to impress their bosses, take care of their homes, or do a million things for the community. Often times, the cost is a huge sacrifice of their personal peace, health and happiness. It is time to realize that life will always have a list of things we need to do. A list that, for anyone with dreams and goals, will always have something on it. It is not until we understand this that we can start to look at each task differently. We need to look at our list differently, and approach everything differently.
Everything On My List Is Top Priority
Most of the time, this long list is not full of top priority items. You may think, “no…my list is full of all top priority items.” Well, if that were true, you would not push the same item down your list when something more important pops up. Have you ever had something on your list that “has to get done” but for some reason gets constantly pushed down your list? This item eventually falls off the list because it is not “important” any more. I bet you have. I know I have. Things that stressed me out for weeks only to never get done and become less important.
Think on this. Let’s say you are the person who is constantly stressing over your list. You are working 50-60 hours a week, sacrificing your time. You feel like you will never get done, but guess what? Christmas vacation is coming up. You have to “wrap up some work” before you can psychologically turn off work mode and enjoy a week with family. You know how that happens? You realize there is no way you are going to get everything done on your list. So you decide to prioritize your list and have a shorter list of things that must get done before vacation. So you bust your butt, get them done, and when you walk away, you feel the weight lifted from your shoulders and you can relax. The list of things to do is still growing, but yet you feel differently about it. You now understand it is just about impossible to have an empty list.
Preparing For A Big Party?
Have you ever tried to prepare for a big party? There is a HUGE list of things that “has to be done.” You and your spouse have really busted your butts and stressed out about “getting everything done.” Planning and getting ready for a party can be part of the fun, but not when you have a list of things that “has to get done” and you feel buried by it. Not to mention, you have to complete this list while still living your lives, working, and maybe even caring for the kids. It can be overwhelming, cause stress and even arguments. At the end of the day, everything about the party turned out great. If asked if you got everything done you would probably say “we got the most important things done.” The things that didn’t get done were lower on the priority list. You understood that it wasn’t possible to get everything done, and not really a big deal that some small things didn’t get done. Yet, you and your spouse almost killed yourselves trying to knock out the list, only to have the party fly by in a few hours. I bet if you took a step back, reflected on the experience, you would see and do things differently. You would have really thought about the priorities and not pressured yourself so much.
I wanted to stress that life constantly puts things on your list. When we have so many things on our list, we rush through them too fast. We don’t enjoy the time actually doing those things. We end up doing a half-assed job, and most of the time not enjoying the task. We have to realize that the list will never be empty. Therefore, we have to prioritize, do one thing at a time, and enjoy the ride.
We can’t sweat what isn’t done, because there will always be something that isn’t done. Just understand that you can get joy out of everything in your life. Stay in the moment of what you are doing, do that task to the best of your ability, and enjoy your time doing it. Strive to get the most out of everything you do. Don’t settle on “knocking something out” as quickly as you can so you can move on to the next thing. Don’t be depressed over the things in the past that you could have done better. Don’t be anxious over the things in your future you have to do. Concede to enjoy the moment, the number one task on your list, and get it done.
Understand that you will always have something that “has to be done.” Don’t worry about what isn’t done because there is ALWAYS something that isn’t done. Accept that each task is a part of the journey of life. Each task is a step towards the next thing. Too many times we focus on the result of what we are trying to do, but forget that the experience is what is important. Make an effort to enjoy everything you do. Live in the moment, and truly experience everything life has to offer.