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One Phrase that has Changed My To-Do List

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Bulletin Board
Bulletin Board

New Inspirational Bulletin Board

Anyone else an over-thinker? I fall into that trap far too often, especially when it comes to my to-do list. I’ll finish a task—large or small–and then spend the next three hours—maybe days–trying to decide what to do next. This? Or that? But if I do this, then will I have time for that? And what about…? I can make myself crazy over-thinking and over-analyzing, both of which are just another way of procrastinating. This constant waffling and failure to make a decision lets me fill time without accomplishing a thing. It puts off hard work by giving me a convenient hamster wheel to run on for a few hundred miles. Or days.

I’ve got to get off that wheel!

I’m making progress, though. I don’t have the entire year organized, but I’ve got the first quarter planned and I’m good with that. My new-to-me vintage desk which I love (see One Trick to Reach Your Goals in 2014 to check it out) is almost completely organized, though the file cabinets…well, that’s a project for another decade.

After too many turns on the hamster wheel, I got my new bulletin board up. Instead of tacking up scribbles of paper every which way, I tried to make it look pretty, though I am not a crafty person, much to my mother’s disappointment. (I grew up in a family of crafters and my stubborn insistence on reading a book instead of gluing, beading, painting or sewing, elicited much adult sighing during my childhood.)

But, at the very top of my bulletin board I tacked ONE phrase that is changing everything. Seriously. It’s what I need to get off the hamster wheel.

Just do the next thing.

That’s it. It’s simple and easy. Not to mention oh-so-empowering for this lifelong over-thinker. Finish one item and go directly to the next. Do not stop to think, analyze, doodle, check Facebook or any other social media.

Just do the next thing on the list.

And the next.

What about you? How do you stay off the hamster wheel? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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    The Conversation

  1. That’s a good idea, Connie! I’m pretty well organized, but circumstances beyond my control can throw me for a loop. Even something like holiday preperations got me out of my routine and it took a while to get back. Knowing what you want or have to do in advance can be a real time-saver.

  2. Jamie Janosz says:

    So true. It reminds me of Anne Lammott’s Bird by Bird – have you read it? The title comes from a story she tells about her brother trying to write a school report and feeling overwhelmed. His dad tells him to take it Bird by Bird” and not to worry about it all at once. Smart advice!

    • Connie Mann says:

      Hi Jamie, I LOVE Bird by Bird. I re-read it every other year or so, as a refresher. Guess maybe it’s time to read it again. 🙂 Bird by Bird…task by task…love it!

  3. Jan Jackson says:

    Great tip, Connie.
    Jan

  4. Bebe Hilbrands says:

    Connie, I too am guilty of over thinking everything. I am trying to learn to just do the next thing as well and not over think it. This does help with accomplishing more.

    I find I am most guilty in the area of relationships and not as much with scheduling. I over think things said in conversations or social media. By trying to take things as said and not allowing my mind to wander and add my own twist into what they “really” meant, I am enjoying people and life much more.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Your friend,
    Bebe

    • Connie Mann says:

      Bebe, Oh can I relate to that!! Over-thinking is so easy to fall into in regard to relationships and it robs us of joy! Way to go on taking things at face value. I need to practice more of that in my life, too! Great reminder.
      So good to hear from you!

  5. Wow, you may have just changed my life! 😉

  6. Yes! Shared! Thanks for reminding me. 🙂