Calling all women who over-commit, over-schedule and have a to-do list a mile long!

When I took my year-long sabbatical – my year of no, the first few months were challenging. My sabbatical year wasn’t a year to be doing, it was a year to learn how ‘not to do’. Think that sounds wonderful? Let me tell you, it wasn’t.

Without adrenaline – my drug of choice, my mood plummeted, I felt worthless, useless and when the end of the day arrived and I had not accomplished my usual long list, I felt somehow that I had failed. 

The Ashwood Recovery Center says, “…excessive stress is unhealthy, triggering both adrenaline and cortisol secretion. The more a person does such behaviors, the more s/he feels life is boring without the adrenaline hit, and thus is made the adrenaline junkie, seeking ever more and ever higher highs.”

A few months into my ‘Year of No’, I had these epiphanies…
#1: Women have a very skewed sense of how much they can accomplish in one day.
#2: Long to-do lists create anxiety, which ramps up adrenaline.
#3: Adrenaline is addictive (hence the ever-increasing dependency on caffeine).

Ask yourself these questions:
-Do you wake in the morning ticking off your to-do items before your head is off the pillow?
-Do you dread your day ahead?
-Do you wonder how you’re going to pull off ‘getting it all done’?
-And here’s the big one – on those rare occasions when you do find yourself with time on your hands, are you able to simple ‘be’ without agitation, without feeling guilty and without feeling bored?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then the 2x, 1/3 rule is for you. This ‘rule’ takes commitment to self, discipline, saying ‘no’, and setting healthy boundaries – all worth it, because the rewards are immense and include – 
-A happier and healthier you.

-More energy at the end of your work day.
-Increased productivity and focus on what matters most.
-Creative thinking time which leads to innovative ideas.
-Ever expanding success.

Here’s how it works.

#1: Do 1/3 Less
Women for hundreds of years, have been the queens of multi-tasking and moving quickly in order to juggle it all. 
When conducting my research on women and busyness, one woman shared with me that whenever she writes her list of tasks to accomplish, she rips it into thirds. She was in the ‘post-busyness’ category and learned through a hard knock (health issues brought on by her over-busy life style) the importance of doing less.

Imagine all the things you think you ‘should’ accomplish laid out in front of you – a salad bar of sorts. Now think about what actions will have the biggest impact on your desired outcome. Pick your 1/3 based on what is most in alignment with your core values and your organizations core mission – what matters most? Delegate the rest (let go of your grip), say no and remember, it’s okay to drop some of those balls.

A word of caution – you may get push back from others because they have become accustomed to you ‘doing it all’. Stand strong and consider communicating why you are revamping how you schedule your day (what is the benefit?). 

You will also get push back from yourself – this is uncomfortable – you are moving out of the comfort zone of habits, even though these habits don’t support you or your mission.

#2: 2x the amount of time you think a task or appointment will take.
Commit to the mindset that everything will take twice as long as you think it should.
When scheduling appointments, or time for projects – double the time. I know, I know…oh-so-counter-intuitive. But sometimes a counter action to the action that isn’t supporting you or your mission, is the best move you can make.

Now, take a deep breath and imagine your day with time to absorb into a project or drop into a conversation on a deeper level when not worrying about your time constraints. How does this feel? 

Not only will you arrive at the end of your day with more energy, scheduling your day lighter, leaves room for imagination, contemplation, creativity and spaciousness. There will be times when you do accomplish a ‘to-do’ item in half your allotted time and when you do – do this…

Make an agreement with yourself with how you will use this extra time, because those old habits of cramming in something, just because you can, will kick into high gear!  My suggestion – have a ‘go to’ list. Perhaps this list includes closing your eyes for a while, a walk outdoors, listening to music while catching up on filing, letting ideas bounce around in your head and daydreaming too!

The thing about time is – if you don’t use it wisely, it will use you!

And remember this – “Goddesses never rush.” 

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