Along with sending letters in the mail and talking on phones with a handset and a curly cord, I enjoy listening to the radio. I like the variety–and the live voice on the other end of the airwaves. And a few mornings ago, when I had the radio on while getting ready for work, two things caught my attention–a public service announcement and a song–both of which have been floating around in my head ever since.
“For each hour of regular exercise you get, you’ll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy.”
–American Heart Association
“Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”
–Mumford & Sons, “Awake My Soul”
Each thought is profound on its own. Invest in your life–for your heart’s sake. Invest in your heart–for your life’s sake. But together? They deliver a terrific jolt of present-moment awareness.
The secret to living the biggest, richest life possible? Hit the gym. Unroll your yoga mat. Chase the puck. Romp around the park with the dogs. Take a long walk. Speak from your heart. Pursue your dreams. Teach. Listen. Say I love you. Make the time. Rinse, lather, repeat.
“There is much to get done; therefore, we must go slowly.” I can’t remember who said it first, but boy was he (or she) right!
When the to-do list is a mile and a quarter long (And, really, whose isn’t?) the only chance we have of really getting things done is to slow waaaay down.
Less is more. Remember?
Today, instead of rushing to work to get crackin’ on that to-do list, I chose to hit the coffee shop. After getting my drink, I pulled out a blank sheet of paper and started writing. I wasn’t just wrapping my head around what I had to do; rather, I was getting clear on how I was going to do it. More intention, less agenda. Fifteen minutes later, I was ready to face my workday.
With a clear intention, we stand a much better chance of getting to the items on our own to-do lists—even when other people are adding their own items to it.
Want to re-do your to-do list? Here’s my approach for getting things done:
Start with a blank sheet of paper and take a few minutes to unload whatever thoughts are jumbling around in your head.
Remind yourself of your intention. (What are you working toward? What gets you energized?)
Create a short to-do list for the day. (3 to 5 items is realistic.)
Review each item and ask yourself, “If this was the only thing I got done today, how would I feel?” Make sure that something on your to-do list is fueling your intention.
Take a moment to think about how you’d like to feel (Calm? Productive? Connected?) and imagine yourself doing each of the items on your to-do list in this manner
Go out there and live your day.
If things don’t go as planned, that’s okay. Tomorrow you get to try all over again.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
I recently came across a to-do/goals list from a few years ago—and was stunned to see just how many of those items I was still working toward. Lofty ambitions, largely untouched. And I suspect, if I looked through my old notebooks, these same things would be on my wish list.
What if I had tackled these things in small bits—bird by bird, as Anne LaMott would say—where would I be now? What amazing feats could I have accomplished?
What I’ve finally learned is that there is no such thing as the “right” time. Perfectionism is procrastination. If I give myself permission to do things imperfectly, I get things done. And the funny thing is that the outcome is usually pretty darn good.
Alas, (not to be confused with “at last”) it’s fall. Sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes are just around the bend. Scarves, too. (I love scarves!) And even though the calendar still says we have two more weeks of summer, I’ll always associate September 1 with fall’s unofficial start. Maybe it’s the latent meteorologist in me . . .
But before I usher in autumn, I must pay homage it its spunky little sister. This year’s summer was filled with things to love, both big and small. Such as:
Park trips aplenty with the pups and my beloved
My best pal moving back east
An indulgent, two-hour yin + vinyasa workshop with YogaThree’s Chanel Luck and Bonnie Argo
Upleveling my life with creativity coach extraordinaire, Christine Kane