5 Ways To Keep Your Head Above Water When Drowning In To Do Lists

Keep Your Head Above Water

Lately, all it seems like is that I have a never-ending list of things to do. I remember, this time last year, I was relatively relaxed and I had plenty of free time. Now though, I’m literally drowning in things to do and at times I’ve found it tricky to keep afloat. I’m sure you know what it’s like to keep your head above water when things get a little crazy?

I’ve probably taken on a little more than I can chew, however, rather than curl up on the sofa and cry my eyes out, (which I almost did at one point), :-p I decided to get a little proactive to make sure I didn’t stay that way!

It can be overwhelming and extremely frustrating when you’re in position whereby, it just feels like your list of things to do just keeps expanding, and yet you don’t feel like you’re making progress in getting those things done.

Most of the time, the tasks on our lists are not essential for life, and yet we attach significant importance to them. We feel cloudy and unclear and like something heavy is on our shoulders and that feeling remains until we get those things done.

If we were all to be completely honest with ourselves we would come to understand and realise that we are the architect of our own undoing. We know what needs to be done, but we don’t do them when we should, and then ultimately the list grows and then we feel overwhelmed.

So it begs the question, what can you do to begin clearing that list so that you start enjoying your down-time? What can you do that you can relax and be in the moment, and your thoughts aren’t constantly going back to that dreaded list?

Keep your head above water

Here’s 5 things I’ve begun doing which will massively help you to keep your head above water

1. System

Most people have various systems for their workloads and task lists. I tend to keep mine very simple, in a to-do list format and that is sufficient. You can make yours as glamorous and elaborate as you wish but, something very wonderful happens when you at least do the minimum, that is, you make a list. You suddenly feel lighter and more focussed. It’s a natural consequence of making a simple list. So get into that habit and keep at it.

2. Time

When you’ve got into the habit of making a list, you free up so much head space and what happens is that you get things done quicker. You are then able to have more free time. You might think that making a list will take time. It does, however in the long run it actually saves you time because you’re thinking clearly, and you will complete things with greater efficiency.

3. Pause

When you feel your thoughts running away and you feel the stress piling on, it’s time to pause. Stop for just a few minutes, go back to your list and tackle just one thing at a time. Make yourself blind to the rest of the list and focus on just a single item. After a while, doing just one thing at a time, you will quickly plough through the list begin to feel so much lighter.

4. Tick

This is as about as simple as it gets. Tick things off as you go! Sign them off and say done! Even this simple step will keep your mojo high because you will see that you are getting things done and that after all, is the whole purpose of this exercise. You will feel PRODUCTIVE and hence have the sensation that you able to keep your head above water.

5. Perspective

Of course, the last but most important thing is to keep reminding yourself that those tasks you have in front of you, are not what give you pleasure in life. My friends and I do this little game where we remind ourselves of whether, at end of our life, where these tasks will rank. Ultimately we all know they won’t rank high at all, and it’s important to keep a balanced perspective and remember you won’t look back and feel happy that you did all these things. You will look back be proud of how much you loved, how much you cared, and how much contributed.

This is the simple process to keep your head above water, and remember – don’t let those pesky lists to get the better of you. Get them done, but don’t let them overwhelm you and steal your joy. Don’t worry, be happy!

What about you? Any specific techniques you use to keep your head above water? Let me know what they are in the comments below.

4 Responses

  1. Reena says:

    Hey Amit this is a great to know how to simplify things, sometimes my own to do lists can seem over-whelming that it seems hard to try and keep on top of things! this is a great way of getting perspective and balance no matter how chaotic life gets!

  2. Milan Bakrania says:

    Hey bro, this is exactly what I needed. Some days my to-do-list is more like a to-do-book! 🙂

    • Amit Sodha says:

      LOL – tell me about it! I think I got into a really bad habit of just being disorganised and so I’m cultivating slightly better habits.

      Great to hear from you bro and thanks for reaching out – hope you and the missue are both keeping well!


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