15 half-written emails, a to-do list out the wazoo, 3 in-progress texting conversations, putting the kids to bed while texting work…
Does any of this sound familiar?
Before I learned to tame my mind I used to be doing 1 million things at one. I mean, I honestly should have had my photo in the dictionary under "multi-tasking".
I felt I had no choice but do try and do 1 million things at once, because with so much to do, it was the only chance I had of even making a dent in the list.
Then I read this quote from the wise-old Confucius:
"She who chases two rabbits, catches neither."
And it dawned on me. I was trying to chase 1 million rabbits, was it any wonder that I never felt that sense of achievement I was working really hard for?
But in my head, the alternative would mean that I didn't get through everything, and that thought was unimaginable. Everything needed to be done, NOW. Everything needed to be done by me.
Well, was that really the case?
One night as I ran through the overwhelming to-do list with hubby I realised a number of things. The car insurance wasn't due for 2 weeks, so that could wait. My daughters swimming lesson needed to be changed, but he could do that when he was next there. The towels could wait another few days to be washed. My personal inbox cleaning out could wait. A doctors appointment could be pushed to next week. You get the picture.
With fresh eyes, I realised I saw everything on that list as equal, urgent and that only I could do it.
I needed to learn to catch only one rabbit at a time.
Here's how I did it.
I went through my to-list and decided at that point in time, 9.30pm on the couch with the laptop in front of me, what was the most important thing I needed to be doing.
I had 4 urgent work emails I needed to respond to for the next day.
So I did that. Only that. I started with the first email. I didn't open any other emails. I stopped texting a friend. Closed the online shopping and insurance price-checking browsers. I addressed that one email and then moved onto the next. When I wasn't multi-tasking, I realised I was actually much faster.
I did the same thing the next day. I pushed things off this week’s list into next. I gave some to hubby. Suddenly the list was smaller and I was working through it faster.
I felt so much more productive. So much less overwhelmed.
This concept applies not only to getting through the to-do list, but also where we want to focus in life. Most women I speak to want to improve their health, be more present with their kids, work on their relationship, grow at work, exercise more, improve their mindset etc etc etc. Multi-tasking their life! Just like my to-do list, they are chasing too many rabbits and hence getting nowhere.
One of the keys to getting a more balanced life is to pick your rabbit.
Pick the one area of your life that needs your most immediate attention and focus on that. Only that. Be present. Be focused. And then you can move onto the next area. What you'll soon find is that by working on one area and getting momentum, you're going to see the benefits across other areas of your life, more so that you could possibly imagine.
What rabbit do you need to choose today?