Why do we find ourselves doing ridiculously UNNECESSARY things when our To-Do lists are overwhelmingly FULL?
I have a client who called me up to say, “Jenifer, I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I VOLUNTEERED to ‘string’ FIFTEEN BUCKETS OF POPCORN!”
Hahahahaaaa… first of all, her list of things to do is MASSIVE. So regardless of the fact that I had no idea what stringing popcorn was, we had a wicked laugh at what would possess her to take on something new.
If your’e wondering, stringing popcorn is when you poke each kernel with a needle and then slide it onto a string. Then you sell the strings of popcorn at your child’s school event for people to (I don’t even know for sure) eat or use to decorate their homes??? (Still giggling over here!) Okay, so imagine HOW LONG it would take to string 15 whole buckets of the stuff!
When we get overwhelmed, we can find ourselves in action paralysis. You’ve likely heard me talk about that before. There’s Sooooo much to do, it feels Sooooo overwhelming, that we don’t know what to choose, and so we do none of it. OR we find ourselves suddenly cleaning out our junk drawers, or volunteering to do things that TAKE hours of our time. It’s our clever, not really even conscious, way of avoiding the stressful, looming, intimidating To Do List!
Plus, those types of distraction tasks are the easy no-brainers we can’t fail at… kind of therapeutic. AND they are a great sign that you need a REFRAME and REASSESSMENT of things before you BURN OUT!
Welcome the 3D’s exercise!
This is a great little tool to help you cut your list in HALF or more. It’ll help you get a very clear picture of everything that’s competing for space in your mind.
There are two parts.
PART 1: Le Brain Dump
Make a massive list of ALLLLLL the things you have committed to doing in your work and personal life. I mean EVERYTHING. Shine a light on what you do repeatedly every day, what is coming up, what you forgot you said you’d do, what you want to do but you keep pushing down on your priority list, what you keep wanting to get around to, what is needing your attention, what you’re avoiding or neglecting, what you know you “should” be doing to make your life easier but you haven’t yet, chores, tasks, responsibilities, self care ‘stuff’, calls to return, things that need to be completed, people you need to be in touch with… you get it. Oh, and for the ones like ‘clean my office’, break those down further into the tasks that make up the end result of having the clean office (buy file folders, organize drawers, vacuum, etc.).
The Brain Dump is about SHINING a big old spotlight on EVERYTHING. While this may seem hugely daunting, two cool things will happen when you do this completely: first, you’ll find a sense of relief in KNOWING exactly where you stand because the acknowledgement alone creates an empowering perspective, and second, you now become in control of cleaning it up and clearing it out quite quickly… let me explain with part two!
PART 2: The Three D’s… Do it, Delete it, or Delegate it
Next to each thing you wrote in your Brain Dump List, assign one of the three D’s. You need to decide whether you’re going to DO IT, DELETE IT, or DELEGATE IT.
The DO IT list will likely be your biggest. We tend to think we have to do most things ourselves (if you don’t you ROCK and probably don’t have a looming To Do list!). So go through and add DO IT to the items you can’t pass off or forget about completely.
The DELETE list is the most FUN. Cross that sh*t off! Very gratifying! If it’s been on your list for-evaaaa and you know you’ll never do it and no one will be harmed if you don’t do it, then let it goooo! Release yourself from the stress of carrying it around like an undone burden.
DELEGATE is the list where you can get other people to do things for you. You may have to pay for some of this, but seriously, you have two hands and 24 hours, if it’s not done and stressing you out and someone else is fully capable: DELEGATE! Focus on your brilliance. Focus on what feels good, and fun, and makes you a happy person vs. one who is miserable because of tasks you hate that aren’t getting done!
Now… go back through your DO IT list and chip away at it some more. Be a little ruthless and assign a few more deletes and delegates. Like that shirt that doesn’t fit right that’s the colour you don’t know if you even like… IT’S NOT SERVING YOU, get rid of it or give it away! (You get the analogy 😉 )
Finally: choose THREE THINGS you are going to do FIRST, like as in right now to get the momentum going.
Hopefully there will be a massive SIGH of relief in this for you.
NOW you can go guiltlessly string as much popcorn as you like!
I believe in you,
Fearlessly live an extraordinary life!
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