It’s easy to put stress & strain on yourself. I often find myself thinking “I must do this and that later”. All these thoughts build up in my mind and cause unnecessary stress. Ultimately they make the jobs that “I must do” seem like a chore, rather than what could actually be an enjoyable and fulfilling task.
It also affects my mood. If I’m stressed out thinking of all the things I “must do” then I’m snappier with people, make worse judgements and find it harder to concentrate.
The key is to let these “must do” thoughts wash over you, like an ocean tide, but not to actually pay attention or to develop them further in your mind. You can acknowledge these thoughts, that’s fine. Just think “oh well” to them, whenever they crop up. They’re important, to remind you about what you need to get done, but you don’t need to develop these thoughts or dedicate significant energy to them.
Be in the Now
Without sounding airy fairy; instead of dedicating time and energy to these “must do” thoughts, focus instead, on NOW. This will include your surroundings, the people you’re with and what you’re currently doing. You will find that your stress will ease significantly. Don’t worry about forgetting the things that you “must do”; when it comes to a point when you’ve got time to do them, then you can tackle them with much more motivation and a fresher, clearer mind.
As well as easing your stress, you’ll get the “must do” jobs done better, more enjoyably and with more energy than if you had been thinking about them all day long.
You might find it useful to offload your “must dos” to an “external brain” such as Evernote. Take a look at this post for more information on creating an external brain without the stress that an everlasting todo list can cause!
If you’ve found this post useful, you may find my recent post on Focussing on Tasks rather than Concepts useful also.