How To Eliminate Your “Have to’s”
Is it true? Do you really have to? Good question, not so easy answer.
When I notice that my stomach is in knots and I feel shackled all over, I take it as a message to myself. Obviously something is wrong. Why do I feel like weights and chains are holding me down? The answer usually lies in the feeling state that takes over when I have to do something I don’t want to do; I’m fighting my world.
So let’s look at that. What happens when you feel the weight of “having” to do something on your to do list? For me, it’s driving the kids around, or should I say chauffeuring them. I should wear a hat! My daughter has to be dropped off at school for rehearsal at 6:00pm and then picked up again at 9:00 pm while my son has to be picked up at 5:00 pm from basketball and dropped off to his science fair at 7:00 pm and make sure I get everyone dinner and clothes washed for the next day… Oh wait I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just stick to the driving part.
First tip; take each item on your list separately to avoid overwhelm. It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle. It’s no good staring at the two thousand pieces strewn about your table and randomly taking stabs at finding pieces that fit. Separate the end pieces and then sort by size or color etc. so it falls into a system.
The key is to change perspective from I have to, to I choose to. Here is how I go about it; it’s called the 4 B’s. I put each “to do” to the test. This seriously works.
Bag it. Barter it. Better it. Batch it.
Can I bag it? Not really. I would feel really bad if they were waiting in the cold or had to hitch hike. Sometimes my “to do” can be stopped right then and there. I really don’t have to make two dozen cookies from scratch for my son’s homeroom. I can grab them from a bakery instead. But if I can’t…
Can I barter it? Maybe. I’ve traded coaching to a college student for driving my daughter home. Or, I’ve struck a deal with another parent to take turns carpooling. I like to take advantage of this one. But let’s say I can’t…
Can I better it? This is where the buck stops. If I couldn’t bag it or barter it, how do I better it? Tip: give myself a reward. I could listen to a book on tape while I drive and sit in the parking lot waiting. I like this approach, especially if it’s a guilty pleasure book. Tip: Think about the end result and how it will make me feel. In this circumstance, I think about imagining the time when they are both in college, I have no idea of where they are and would give anything for a phone call asking me to pick them up. I usually ending up teary as they get in the car and I’m so grateful to be their mother I could squeeze them. They are on to me now. “You’re doing that projecting into college thing again, aren’t you mom?”
Can I batch it? Batching works well for social networking and email, or even house cleaning. Don’t keep the computer on all day and feel the need to check and answer emails at all times. Batch your responses into morning and evening. Don’t clean the whole house up all at once. Batch the cleaning responsibilities into categories. Floors one day, dusting the other… while you listen to your favorite music… and sing!
Any tool, which helps to bring more joy and less stress, is a good tool. What’s on your to do list?
Xo Liz. – Life coaching. Transforming confusion into clarity. LIZKEIFER.COM