HOW TO STOP YOUR ‘TO DO’ LIST GETTING IN THE WAY
Discover the games it likes to play – and what you can do about it.
A common objection I hear from students is that they’ve simply got too much to do, to be able to take 10 minutes out to meditate or practise mindfulness.
Not that you would ever use that one, of course 😉
We’ve all done it. We have all had the intention to meditate, but ‘stuff got in the way’. Or, if we actually manage to meditate, suddenly our mind is full, reminding us of everything on our ‘to do’ list. When we sit still and stop being busy, we can instantly become aware of how much we still have to do and it can feel like our mind is racing even more than usual.
The trick, when dealing with this one, is acceptance.
It’s ok – just let your mind go on with the chattering, telling you about the vacuuming, telling you about the shopping, telling you about the school run… Don’t try to fight it or ignore it. It will eventually get the idea and calm down.
And then you can start teaching it how to meditate with you, rather than being against you. You can learn how to use your mind to focus; how to use it to help you concentrate.
We all have plenty to do. The ironic thing is that when we are calm and relaxed we are able to get one thing finished at a time, and our ‘to do’ list gets done much more quickly. Also, the new-found clarity often helps us see things that didn’t need to be on it in the first place.
Regular meditation helps us worry less, it helps us stress less, and it makes the ‘to do’ list easier.
Surely it’s worth investing 10 minutes of your time? The vacuuming can wait! Or, if you really find that the vacuuming has to be done, by all means to do it, but commit to meditating immediately afterwards.
When you hit your 80th birthday party, I am pretty sure you’re going to look back and feel grateful for the number of times you’ve meditated – those meditation times that have given you inner peace and happiness – rather than the number of times you vacuumed your house or checked your emails. It’s very likely that you’ll feel happiest about the times you told yourself, “I choose…”, rather than those when you said, “I should…”
There’s no need to feel guilty
Choosing to meditate – temporarily postponing your ‘to do’ list – gives you more energy and clarity of thinking. The increased focus and concentration helps you to get more done, more quickly, as well as prioritising and dumping the stuff that isn’t really essential. How about throwing away that guilt right now? Feeling guilty has no place in your meditation practice. You either choose to meditate, or you don’t. It’s your choice. And it’s only for 10 minutes. If the phone rang right now, I bet you’d find 10 minutes to talk to someone, wouldn’t you?
So the next time your ‘to do’ list gets in the way, thank your mind for reminding you about what needs to be done and then how about telling it, “The next 10 minutes are mine”?
Remember, we’ve got discussion threads in the online forum, to help you with all this.
How do you find time to meditate?
What are your favourite meditation excuses?
What are your top time wasters?
My personal time management secret
The most useful resource I have ever found to help me break the habits that were stealing all my spare time is the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. Whether or not you want to reduce your working hours, many of his suggestions throw conventional time management (which is all about ‘doing, doing, doing’) on its head. His proven strategies apply to all of us and they might just change your life. They’ll certainly help you find 10 minutes a day to meditate.
I hope you enjoy today’s meditation!
Day 11 Affirmation
I allow my meditation time to become a priority.
P.S. The key links you need for week two are:
Week 2 Meditation: