Even as a productive and balanced person, there are moments when overwhelm creeps in. The demands on my time, whether real or perceived, begin to mount and I feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to make it all work. I revert to a past version of myself who stressed through more than she savored her fleeting days. Perhaps you also know the feeling of this specific kind of anxiety inching inward, in an effort to completely engulf you.
When I find myself in those moments, I have to intentionally stop and immediately do damage control before the feeling steals my ability to function. I start by reminding myself of days when the various demands for my time were not an option. During parts of my Ravitch recovery, I could not always think about being at a birthday dinner or getting a project completed in time. There were days when all I could worry about was surviving – literally staying alive.
These days often revolved around choosing a yogurt flavor, catching the Ellen Show, and swallowing a tiny (yet wildly important) pill. They felt as trivial as they sound. They were so contradictory to my previous life of hustle and headache, that I sometimes felt guilty for only ‘accomplishing a few things’ each day. However, a new recovery complication was never too far away to give me perspective and remind me that although I was not doing all the things, I was doing the most important thing; I was making it through the day.
So often, we can get caught up in the crushing anxiety of our mounting to-do list and countless demands for our time. We can begin to feel that unless we accomplishing all the things, we are accomplishing nothing. Yet life is about quality over quantity. My ‘trivial’ days taught me that accomplishing only one important thing was sometimes more productive than running myself ragged on all the small things.
If you are feeling the creeping anxiety or your list for today is more than you can fathom, take a moment to recalibrate. Decide what your most important thing is for today and focus on that. For more support in deciding what your one thing is for the day, consider the questions below.
- What is best for YOU?
- What really can’t wait until tomorrow?
- What matters most to your personal and professional goals?
- What is a ‘Heck Yes’?
- What matters to your stakeholders?
- Is there an item that has an important and direct impact on your family, paying clients, etc.?
- By not doing something, will it cause a negative ripple out for someone else?