how to stop to do's from piling up

how to stop to do's from piling up
photo by jill banach

photo by jill banach

It’s an inevitable factor of life–things pile up, like books in a bookcase.

As I am working on a more centered life, I am always discovering little tidbits that help to reduce my levels of stress–unneeded stress. There are so many parts of life that we cannot control, which is why we should take the time to uncover how we can control all that we can. The reason for this? Making our lives easier for ourselves … who doesn’t want that?! I think you’d agree when I say that we can all take all the help we can get.

A flaw that I’ve realized in myself is that I sometimes don’t act right away on items on my To Do list as they came up, but instead contemplate them until my tasks build up around me. This results in a pile of items I’ve been avoiding. Along with piles comes stress. One task usually seems fairly manageable. It’s when we have a laundry list of tasks that we want to turn and run the other way.

I’ve noticed a few areas in particular that contribute to my stress when they don’t need to. Most of them are little, relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of all that could be stressful. This is what I mean by eliminating trivial stress.

1) Emails–I’ve found myself reading them but not responding to them immediately. In reality, they’d only take a minute or two to deal with. I’m working on responding right away and archiving that email before there’s time for them to catch up to me.

2) Scheduling–When someone asks me to babysit for instance, I’ve learned to look at my calendar the second I get ahold of the date. For one thing, I know that as my job, this is a priority, so it takes precedence over anything else. This way I’m not vacillating between 100 different activities on one day. If it’s in my planner, it might as well be set in stone.

3) Laundry–This quite literally piles up. I’ve been working on doing it as it comes. If I do this, I’ll never be confronted with mounds of clothes (except when I come home from college, of course).

4) Cleaning–I hate when my room transforms into a black hole. But I’ve come to realize that if I put away my clothes right when they’re out of the laundry, piles will never emerge. What a concept!

5) School work–It’s easy to look at any student’s agenda and feel overwhelmed. But many times we make a bigger deal out of it then we need to. Don’t waste time building up your assignments in your mind; just act on them. Act, Don’t React (I read this on a Yogi tea bag). Bit by bit, the pile will lower.

My mom always asks me, “How do you eat an elephant?” when I am ranting about the number of items on my To Do list. To that I respond, “One bite at a time.” This mindset is so important for keeping ourselves calm when there is a lot happening in our lives. The pile is only going to get larger if we don’t start chipping away at it. Realistically, the To Do list never ends. So we need to find ways to manage it and make it as easier for ourselves as possible. Let’s work on getting rid of the little items quickly so we have more time to focus on the bigger ones.

Now I don’t have a family to support or a mortgage to pay, so my “To Do list” looks much different than other generations. But I think there’s something we can all take away from this message–To the best of our ability, let’s stop the piles before they are bigger than us.

A lifestyle blog about veganism, mood swings, & other chatter.