Clearing Your Mind – An Ordinarily Extraordinary “To Do” Exercise
Did you realize that all those little open things you need to do are really weighing you down and keeping you from being in a state of happiness and contentment? While they may seem minor, when taken as a whole, most people have so many things to do it is hard to stay organized enough to complete them all. This prevents you from reaching your maximum performance in both your work/school environment and your home life. The sense of being overwhelmed then starts a belief system inside you that confirms there is never enough of you or time in the day. Today is a good day to start a new belief system and get you on track knowing that this is a world of abundance no matter what form it takes.
This exercise will provide you with a system of staying focused and leave you more time to do the things you enjoy. I started this exercise in January of 2006 as a way of being more productive at work. It seemed that every day when I got to work, I immediately got overwhelmed with so many things to do that I felt I didn’t accomplish anything at all. However, I did not understand it because I was busy all day long. I would also wake up in the middle of the night and remember that I either forgot to do something or needed to do something the next day. From the very beginning when I started to use this system, I never wake up at night any more nor have that little panic attack followed by anxiety for forgetting to do something important. Can’t you see how this is actually keeping you from experiencing peace?
Let me warn you before I go any further, it does require discipline. Once I made up my mind to use it, I could not live without using it any longer. The ideas are not new, they are not earth shattering, nor will they give you instant gratification, but I promise if you use this method (or any other time management method) you will be amazed by the results. Now, I know what you are saying, “This is just a standard ‘to do list’ just like all the other ones that don’t work for me.” It might look like one, but I am introducing a new way of using the age old tool by tying it directly back to ideas in this workbook. Trust me on this one, the successes I have achieved by using this method have been unbelievable. The funny thing is that I did not realize what I was developing for several months.
Ready to start?
First, start with a clean piece of paper each day and keep it with you all day long. This paper can be the template I built and included in this section, but make sure it is a hard copy. Draw a line right down the middle of the page and put 2 headings: On the left write “I Will Do Today” and “I Will Do Later” on the right. By writing those headings, you are affirming you WILL do these things and the universe will conspire with you to help you complete each item on the list.
Try this to get you started:
Before doing anything in the morning, create your To Do List. This is the VERY first item of the day. This can be done before you leave the house, at your job before you get started, or even at school before classes start.
- Only put things on the left side of the page that you WILL do even if it means working late into the evening to complete them. Put everything else on the right side of the page.
- List EVERYTHING you need or want to do. Simply decide if is it important enough to do today (left side) or if it can wait for later (right side).
- As new “to do” items come up during the day, decide which side of the paper they belong on.
- After the first day, you will have checked off all the things on the left side and now are left with the list on the right side. Identify which items should be moved to the left side along with new items that came up the day before.
- Never overload the left side of the page. If you do, it will turn into a standard “to do list” and will probably fail. When you first start out, only list absolute must do’s; then, as you get yourself trained on this method, you can start putting more items on the left side. Just take it easy at first.
- Print your list. I suggest taking it with you during the day. I do this because more than likely I will be given additional tasks during meetings or I might think of something else that needs to get done. After items are added, pick which side of the page it belongs on.
- It is important to add the amount of time required to complete the item. Be sure to list a realistic time. This allows you to scan them quickly and pull out ones that take less time when you only have a few minutes before a class or something else you need to do.
- Do not put your list in any order. Simply write them out as you think of them.
- Be sure to make a new list every day. Do not try to use the one from the day before because the priorities may have changed and I believe that re-writing the list every day is a way of re-affirming that you will complete your tasks for that day.
- At the very bottom of the page, write 3 affirmations to include the following topics:
Once you have made your list for the first day, you will feel slightly better just for putting it on paper. A good exercise to do is a data dump where you basically jot down every single thing you can think of that you need to do first. The first time I did this I had well over 60 items. After you have all your items listed, pull out a new sheet and write them down on the daily “I WILL Do Today” list. You will need to determine what side of the paper they belong on. One thing that I noticed was that once I listed them all, I felt a sense of relief and, as I started my daily work, the list got smaller and smaller.
Ready to make your own list? Email me at email@example.com and mention this blog post. I will send you more information and templates to get you started.
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If you would like more information, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.