by Cara Lumen
Dr. Oz calls them Nagging Unfinished Tasks (NUTS). They are a major cause of stress and we all have them. It’s that “To Do” list that keeps growing instead of shrinking. It’s the projects that are partially finished but we seem not to have time to complete. And it’s the zillions of ideas that keep showing up to entice us to go do something new.
There are several ways to keep NUTS from driving you nuts. One is organizational and the other is physical.
Limit your To Do List to three things
A long “To Do” list is actually an “I’ll Never Get It Done” list. So let’s turn it into an action step. Every evening before shutting down for the night, choose three things
you will do the next day. Just three. That means you have to prioritize and choose what is the most important task to do. Whether it’s a start up step for a new project,
an action step that moves a project forward, an urgent task with a deadline – just choose three.
Then do them. If you know you have a full day planned don’t choose 3 hour tasks but you sure can get a lot of little tasks off your list in between your activities. I you can, do those things on your list first thing. It will give you a great sense of accomplishment that will stay with you throughout the day.
Do a reality check. If you can’t truly get it done, who can? I was recently paid to write two articles from someone who is totally capable of writing them herself, but she cannot and fulfill other obligations. She delegated – to me. Make a list of things you could delegate and identify people that could do those tasks for you. Have your team in place so when you are really stressed you can call on someone.
On the physical level, Dr. Oz has two suggestions. One is to lie on your back with your hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath in and as you do, allow your stomach to extend with the breath. Inhale on the count of five. On the count of 7 exhale and push all the air out of your body until your navel is pulled in. Do this for five minutes.
You could also do this sitting in your chair but one of the major causes of back pain is all our sitting. Figure out some stretching exercises that allow you to stand up and move about and do them every hour on the hour. Get up when you talk on the phone. Walk your office while you are thinking. Consciously lower your shoulders. Get in touch with the tension in your body and release it.
Dr. Oz indicates that 5 minutes of meditation releases stress. I do Falun Gong every morning which has as a part of it meditation. I learned Transcendental Meditation years ago and can do that. Mediation is about quieting your mind. Whether you think the seed syllable OM (AUM) or just sit quietly and follow your breath pattern, when you quiet your mind you release stress.
TM asks you to meditate twice a day and a great time for the evening one is between work and your evening activities. It separates you from your work day and energizes you for your evening. Don’t meditate before going to bed.
If you’re not doing what you love to do you may find yourself facing some dreary days. Change that. Find things to do and people to be wirh that energize and inspire you. Look for something to add to your life that you’ve been meaning to do. Walk 30 minutes instead of 10. Do some yoga stretches / at lunch time. Go find a place to volunteer that brings you to new people and warm feelings of accomplishment. If you are not happy in your job – change it. Or change you. Or both. When you are excited about what you do, when you are with people who inspire and motivate you, you will do your best work and have a fabulous time doing it.
Say “nuts” to nagging unfinished tasks right now. Use these five steps to clear the decks for action and make certain your days are stress free and productive.
©2010 Cara Lumen