Whenever I hear about a death, it really makes me think about how precious our time here on Earth is. It makes me think about my life, and if I will have any regrets should I end up leaving so suddenly.
I guess times like these can serve as a reminder to live a life without regrets.”by Atidecream
Leo Babauta says:
“This morning I had a ton of work to do, and I felt the anxiety building, the moment I woke up and started thinking about all that work.
Instead of getting moving, I watched my anxiety. It’s an interesting feeling of rising panic, of adrenaline shooting from my chest outward. My mind was racing, my heart was beating fast.
I’ve learned to deal with it, so that while it still comes up, I now have trust that I’ll be fine. And that, in turn, helps it to go away sooner.
So what do you do when you’re overwhelmed and have a crapload of work to do?
Here are the practices that work for me. I offer them to you in hopes that they’ll help you.
1. Trust in the moment. Anxiety is usually a fear (or a bunch of fears) about the future, which is pretty normal. But what this really is … is a lack of trust in the future.
Actually nothing really bad will happen to me in the future if I act consistent with my principles so I trust the present moment, and trust that things will work out.
Try this: look at the moment you’re in. Look around you, look inward at yourself. Basically, this moment is fine. If it weren’t, you’d probably be in an ambulance instead of reading a Zen Habits post.
If this moment is fine, the next one will probably be too. And the one after.
2. Meditate for a few minutes. Just sit still for 3 minutes, and pay attention to the breath, to your body, to the sounds around you. Keep coming back to these things in the present when your mind wanders.
3. Make a short list. With a lot of work to do, it can be overwhelming. So I should focus on the most important. What will make the most difference today? Not just the semi-urgent emails, but the tasks that mean the most to my life and career.This tends to be about 3-5 things per day.
4. Single-task. The best of my ability, I stay with the present task instead of allowing myself to constantly switch.
5. Set intentions. What do I hope to accomplish? What’s my motivation? This helps me to understand the Why of the task, and keeps me motivated when things get hard.
“To help my readers with a problem” is a much better reason than, “Because it’s on my list” or “Because I got an email asking me to do it”. I might do the task either way, but with a solid intention, I’m more focused, more motivated.
6. Realize you’re already there. Often we’re rushing to get somewhere. But where are we going? Will we be happier when we get there? Is that place better than where we already are?
I’ve found that no, it’s not any better. Where we already are is just as great. This moment is just as good as wherever we’re rushing off to. We’ve already arrived. So I smile, and appreciate the moment, and this makes the current task not a stepping stone to something better, but something great in and of itself.
7. Keep a stateless mindset. When we rush through a lot of tasks, they tend to accumulate in our heads.
These cost a lot of energy so by letting go of past and future tasks, and just focusing on the current task, we can be less stressed and burdened throughout the day. Read more.
8. Let go of finishing your list or inbox. Set a schedule and try to respect it. I practice letting go, and allow some emails to remain in my inbox, and some tasks to remain for tomorrow.
These are the things I try to practice. I don’t always get them right, and I mess up constantly. But when I remember to do these practices, my day is much better, I’m more focused, and my stress levels drop dramatically.”