Every day we wake up to a set of intentions and things we wish to check off our “to do list”. On days when our mind is focused, we may achieve what we aimed for. On other days, when we are a bit off track, the list seems endless and it feels like not much is happening.
For me, there seems to be a rule of thumb to this: after a day of over achievement follows one, where not much is getting done. Try as hard as I might. I can usually detect those days either right after waking up, when my mind is buzzing with unfocused, anxious activity or when I am about to set my goals for the day and the list becomes endless. 1-5 items on my list is a realistic scenario. 5-20 is a lost cause, right from the start.
But then there are tasks I need to get done that bring with them a level of discomfort that makes the avoider in me want to push them back, hour by hour, day by day. These are usually things that carry a sense of urgency – either because they are urgent right from the start or because I have pushed them back so long that, well, they become urgent.
The discomfort usually comes from having to do something that is unknown territory or that is related to unpleasant topics like money or sorting out a relationship. If it brings out uncertainty or fear in me, I want to push it back to the last corner of my mind. And even though I have learned throughout the years that it will scream at me even louder from that corner, my inclination towards not stepping up to the task is ridiculously strong. I`d rather loose my sleep over something for days in a row than pulling myself together and confront whatever demands my attention.
Knowing myself and this fact at 34 years old, I have developed a simple enough rule that brings a lot more ease into my life: the moment I sense a nagging feeling in my gut related to a task, I know, that this is what I need to do first. Nothing could be possibly more urgent. By doing this task, I will relieve so much underlying anxiety and release so much energy that everything else will come along effortlessly. My mood will by brigther. My spirit lifted. It`s almost palpable. The trick is to act as soon as the first sign of discomfort appears. Before it grows into something of unjustified dimension.
What if I don`t have the time, you ask? There`s another simple trick to this: mostly we have a hard time beginning the uncomfortable task. Once we look into it, we already start the process of confrontation and hence the demystification of its horrors. Even if you have only five minutes – dedicate those minutes to whatever it is you`d rather delay until the end of days and you will soon find that you`re well underway to complete what needs to be done.