Tips For Lightening The Task Load, Lowering Stress, Enjoying Life

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Whether we write official to-do lists or keep a virtual tally of reminders floating about our brain, life's daily tasks can crowd the simple pleasure of being.

For the sake of our mind-body health, we need to strike a balance between emails, meetings, carpools, texts, lawns, laundry, the kids’ soccer games – and having some time to savor a sunrise, a cup of tea, or just being alive.

Six Tips For Lightening the Task Load

  1. Make time before bed. Set a time each day, at least an hour or two before bedtime, when you “clock out” from chores and tasks. Many of us have enough on our to-do list to keep us busy until we fall asleep, but that is not a smart way to live. Know that at some point your work for the day is done, even if there are tasks still left to complete.
  2. Prioritize. Accomplish the things you must do and those you value most before moving on to activities that, at the and of the day, matter less. If you value journaling, meditation or yoga practice, make them a priority. The cooties in the toilet bowl can wait another hour – or day.
  3. Be choosy about the commitments you make. Before adding an obligation to your list of chores, consider the time and energy it will entail, and if it really matters to you. Will adding this commitment make it more difficult for you to spend time on things that make you smile?
  4. Take a break from the to-do list. If you chronically feel the urge to complete things on your to-do list so you can cross them off, consider whether you are sacrificing "being-ness" for "doing-ness." When you scan your actual or mental list, remind yourself that you have a choice. You do not have to do a job because it is written there. Slow down, take some deep breaths, and attempt to recapture the sense that you are choosing to tackle one of the tasks on your list.
  5. Keep at least one eye on the big picture. Remember that on the whole, everything is fine, and the little job on your list is one pixel in the larger panorama of your life story. When you envision the whole, smaller tasks are less likely to stimulate stress. Plus, this makes it easier to see which tasks, if any, are no longer worth your time and effort.
  6. Focus your mind. Although the material tasks we handle – dishes, lawn mowers, dirty sheets, papers to file – are physically substantial, our inner experience while completing any task is fleeting and insubstantial. You might want to try focusing on your changing thoughts and feelings as you work through some of your activities. Although we can hold onto things, we cannot hold on to our sensations and mental images. Realizing this can cause a shift in perception that frees us from the addiction to "human-doing," so we can enjoy "human-being."

Inspired by: The Greater Good

 
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