Do you have a book sitting on a shelf that you have been planning on reading for the last two years?
Do you have a shirt with a tear in it that has been waiting to be mended for over six months?
Do you have a browser tab open from before Passover with an article you meant to read?
If you don’t, I bet you can think of something that would fit on that list, right?
Do you sometimes feel stuck?
Like you just don’t have the energy to deal with anything, or you try to think of what to make for supper and nothing seems to happen in your brain?
Here’s a life hack for you. Next time you have a day where you just feel stuck, try and think of the smallest thing in your life that you need to deal with, like that book you keep saying you’ll read, the shirt with the torn sleeve, or the cool article that’s open on your computer.
Give it a try. What’s the tiniest, easiest thing that comes to mind?
Now throw it away.
Did you think I was going to say to do the thing?
Hey, it you feel like you can, that’s great, go ahead. But if you are not suddenly filled with a burst of motivation to sew up that tear, you can just throw the shirt out. You’ve lived without it for six months, you may well live without it for sixteen more before you would get around to dealing with it, you can survive without it.
How will that help?
Our brains keep a mental list of everything that we think we need to do. All the time, running in the background of your mind there is a subconscious program keeping track of everything you told yourself you need to do sometime.
Yes, it is exhausting.
If you close that tab on your computer, there is one less thing for your subconscious to keep track of. You just freed up one unit of energy. Toss out the mending, and you instantly free another unit of energy.
Get rid of enough items on your mental list (what David Allen calls ‘Open Loops’ in Getting Things Done), and you may find that you suddenly have enough energy to actually get things done.
Over the last month that I have been at home I have finished a number of projects that were lying around. But I have also decided not to read over 10 books. I unsubscribed from 5 newsletters. I gave away my supplies for one type of craft I used to do but haven’t touched in ages. And I have quit 3 courses even though they had no time constraint.
Because with extra stress weighing me down, I found that I needed to free myself from a lot of demands on my mental energy in order to be productive.
How are you coping?
(By the way, when I said throw it out, I meant reuse, recycle, or regift… unless that’s one more thing you can’t deal with today.)
Hi! I’m Havva Mahler, a practitioner of Chinese medicine: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, tuina, reflexology, sotai and massage. You can normally find me at one of my clinics in Be’er Sheva or Sderot, but right now I am home doing my part to not spread viruses and writing about Chinese personalty analysis… new blog posts on the subject coming soon!
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