A Happiness Tip from Kim Helmus
Those endless to-do lists, you probably know them - or you probably made thousands of them. Those yellow, sticky papers between your diary, in your pocket and on your fridge. Not to forget about those on your phone. We think those notes will help us to organize our day, organize our minds. It is our strategy to remind and to not forget. You think those papers will help you not forget about the 'important' things; your goals for example - but actually they can also have bad side effects. For example to let you forget about the really important things: life.
At first, those endless lists have the effect to don't smell the flowers on your way home anymore, to not see the falling leaves on a beautiful in autumn day, or the kind faces on the streets. And to become blind for the beautiful and tiny gifts in life is a shame. Another awareness that might help is that those lists, will be never good enough. The adrenaline rush you experience after finalizing the tasks on your list can work addictive. So, you need more and more to feel satisfied. Many people are demanding and ask more and more from themselves to reach the same goal and to feel satisfied with that. Besides, the amount of things we ask from ourselves to feel productive in a day can be a very unhealthy way of life - and one of the main causes of becoming overworked (or worse). At last, those lists contain, most of the time, things we actually not really want to do that day. They are not aligned with our to do list within our hearts - and are often affected by the meaning of others.
Luckily there are other ways to handle your temper on dismissing all the tasks you want to do. So I made three to-do's for you:
1) Just breathe.
A very beautiful and concrete advice is the one from the efficient guru David Allen: do not start with more than five things on your list and start your day with the 'stupidest' task. After, try whenever you can that day (on your bike, waiting for the tram, on the toilet) to breathe consciously. This tiny advice can leave you with big positive effects on the pitfalls described above.
2) Ask big things from life, but ask little from your to-do list.
Why not making it fun to not be busy? A more relaxed work-environment is maybe even more efficient - for everybody. Tony Crabbe states in his article from NRC 'only losers are busy' that you don't understand it if you're always busy. These 5 tips might help (article in Dutch).
3) There is a difference between goal-oriented living and value-oriented living.
Let yourself lead by and focus on the things that are valuable to you, instead of focussing on the goals you want to achieve. This will release stress and will give you a greater sense of happiness.
Kim Helmus is an elaborative motivational speaker and trainer at The Green Temple and loves to build bridges between psychology and other fields of interests such as spirituality and science. Contact us for more information.
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