One of the most powerful things we can do to maximize our effectiveness, minimize our overwhelm, and be more successful is to know when it is to our benefit to actually do less. We truly can’t do it all and we will virtually never get it perfect.
Getting fixated on “fitting it all in” or not knowing when we’ve done enough(because we get stuck in that nonproductive place of trying to make it perfect) can be a trap that leads to overwhelm, stress, feeling like we can’t succeed, and often, resorting to food for some sort of comfort.
Multi-tasking has a way of making us feel super-efficient, but what it usually does is keep us from being truly focused on what it is we are doing. When we multi-task, we lose our ability to be mindful and we are less aware. This also contributes to stress, overload, and the bad habits we turn to to “cope.”
When we are busy; when we are jumping from one thing to another (or even doing three things at a time), we can become so used to that rhythm that we aren’t even aware of the stress or the overwhelm that is building. When we spend every waking moment chasing our day, just doing what “has to” be done, there isn’t any room to be proactive and there probably isn’t enough room for self-care.
Deliberately doing less, or purposefully working to reduce stress, requires creating enough time to pause and to become aware of all that is going on. It’s important to learn to take a step back in order to gain perspective and to even be able to realize when we are in overwhelm. The next step is creating a piece of quiet time where you can make a decision–a conscious choice–about how to move forward.
You may benefit from practicing this act of pausing. Challenge yourself to sit quietly for 3-5 minutes each day. Sit and do NOTHING. Close your eyes, stare at the ceiling, watch your fish in your aquarium. Move your mind gently away from the list of things to do or the grocery list. Practice pausing.
You may find that this act of completely stopping, even for such a short time, is incredibly difficult. You might even tell yourself that this is one of those activities you can benefit from by just imagining yourself doing it. Trust me–it’s not true. The more you resist it, the more you probably need the practice.
Take good care,