Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Living Happy #13: Always Have A Plan

It's important to know where you're going, or at least some idea about where you think you're going.  I start each day out over a cup of coffee and my notebook.  I do that workdays and weekends both.  I'm a list maker--I have been for decades.  At the beginning of the week, I write down a long laundry list of things I need to get done, and as I get them done I check them off.  On a daily basis, I usually write down just three things I need to get accomplished that day.  This way I don't get to the end of the week and say, "Oh crap, I keep forgetting to schedule an appointment to get my car fixed."  It's on my list--I won't forget.  Anything I don't get done in one week, I roll over to the next.  I also don't feel stress when I get behind (I often am)  because I know exactly what I need to get done to catch up.  I can spend a Saturday banging out the rest of that list and know I actually am caught up.

A lot of times the anxiety and stress we feel is our own fault.  We put things off.  We feel like we're way behind--it seems like there's an endless amount of stuff we have to do to catch up.  We get feeling overwhelmed because it feels like there's just too much for one person to do.  You do a little on this, and a little on that, and never feel like you get anything done.  It stresses you out.  That's because you really don't have a good idea of what still needs to be done.  My experience is, it is never as bad as you think when you sit down and create a plan.  You may very well write everything down and realize it's not that bad, and you can actually get that list done during a morning of dedicated focus on it.

Take fifteen or twenty minutes on a Monday and write down everything you need to do to get completely caught up.  Then every day, enjoy a cup of coffee and jot down a short list of what you have to do that day--three or four things only.  Don't forget to add things that come up during that week as well.  No matter how long your list is, at least you've identified it.  Now begin clearing it. Once you've gone through the pain of that first list, you'll quickly see it's easier to keep up because you have a plan.  

Life is stressful enough without us stressing ourselves out.  Much of what causes us to feel unhappy is because of stress we put on ourself--a lot of that has to do with being organized.  This isn't the last you'll hear on this topic.


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