In our culture, being in a constant state of forward motion is encouraged and admired, whereas slowing down is oftentimes seen as laziness. We are focused on accomplishments, production, and results. Sometimes we don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. Many of us make “To Do” lists on a daily or weekly (or monthly) basis. We write down the work that needs to get done, things we need from the store, errands that have to be run, and tasks around the house that need completing. Checking things off of that list is satisfying and the longer they have been on the list or the bigger the item, the more productive we feel.
I am not suggesting we stop the list making, because honestly I would not remember anything! However, I believe something we all could try to do more of is, well, nothing. So I made a “Not To-Do” list with some things to remember when those responsibilities add up and life can seem a little overwhelming.
1. Don’t feel bad for not completing (or even making a dent in) your to-do list. Some stuff really can wait. Prioritize what is most important to you and chip away at that list one day at a time, letting the experience be the goal.
2. FEEL GOOD when you DO complete something! Reward yourself by relaxing afterward instead of rushing to complete the next task. Go for a walk, read about something that interests you, or simply just lie down and close your eyes for a few. It feels good. Promise.
3. Don’t forget to take care of yourself first. Taking care of yourself allows you to take better care with others. So take an afternoon off to get a massage, eat foods that nourish you, and practice some form of self-care on a daily basis – or whenever you think about it. Don’t wait until the mind is in stress mode.
4. Meditate. Meditation is the ultimate state of doing nothing. Science is only scratching the surface of proving the benefits, and already they know that meditation changes the neuroscience of your brain. Meditate even when you’re busy – especially when you’re busy, because that is when you need to do nothing the most.
5. Don’t forget to unplug! Technology definitely has its place in our society, but by being continually connected to it, we miss out on opportunities to be connected to ourselves, each other, and nature. How much are you really enjoying the present moment if you’re just “trying to get that shot” or always checking social media? Chances are, you’re not.
6. Don’t let your life and loved ones go unappreciated. Steve Maraboli said, “The more I understand the mind and the human experience, the more I begin to suspect there is no such thing as unhappiness; there is only ungratefulness.” Don’t take this experience for granted. Being thankful for what we have brings more abundance and peace into our lives.
What not to-do items would you put on your list?