Ever look at your to-do list and just want to run and hide? Me too.
But life is more than just plowing through our tasks every day, collapsing into bed, judging the past 24 hours, and measuring our success by how much we’ve managed to tick off.
Because guess what? “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” as Annie Dillard said. And despite it feeling like it sometimes, our life is not meant to be a hamster wheel of the same old, same old, day after day, where we’re just trying to make it to the weekend.
Then again, we also have a whole lotta sh*t to do. So here’s how to get stuff done and enjoy yourself at the same time:
1. Rename it.
My friend Jim Kwik says, “Call your ‘got-to-do’ list your ‘get-to-do’ list.” It’s a tiny amendment (one vowel!) but a major shift. I now proudly scrawl GET-to-do list on the top of each of my notepad pages.
Think about it for a second. You GET to do yoga, walk your dog, choose awesome dinner ingredients at Trader Joe's, go to a job each day that affords you the life that you have. And free will is a beautiful thing.
2. Add some action.
Instead of writing plain reminders down as memory triggers, like “Kate,” “Dentist,” and “Report” – add some verbs and result-based benefits if you can too, like “Call Kate + choose Tuesday night movie!” “Book dentist + get gnashers sparkly white!” or “Complete report + exhale.” Imagine the good feeling attached to each agenda item and let it fuel a little more fun within you.
Because fun = getting it done. With style!
3. Trust there’s time.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a rush and panicking to get everything done quickly, you make mistakes? Like when you’re late for work, you can’t find your jeans, you stub your toe on the bed (GAH!), you misplace your phone, and as you head down in the elevator... damn, did you leave the lights on?!?
When we operate from a place of calm and inner connection, stuff happens faster. We find what we need. We don’t burn the toast. Even the bus seems to show up on time. This is where a 10- or even five-minute meditation clears us up. It makes time, almost magically, appear to work FOR us rather than against us. It can be as simple as sitting up in bed and taking 10 deep breaths when you wake up and setting a simple intention for the day (not reaching straight for Instagram and email, yo). Now that’s what they mean when they say getting up on the right side of the bed!
Ask yourself this: How are you spending your days, your life? Are you having enough fun? Can your gotta-do list be a get-to-do list with some good vibes dancing on the page and an air of ‘I got time!’ attached to it all? Yes, it probably can. Now, what’s first?
Susie Moore is Greatist's life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!