The Slow Down

I live by my To Do Lists. I’ve got a project board hanging on my closet door. I’ve got multiple pages in my OneNote with all of my projects, writing, audio, library, and other. I cannot organize everything in my brain, so I organize it on the outside. It works very well for me because I’m able to see everything. Seeing it all laid out helps me keep everything straight.

However, sometimes seeing it all laid out like that with the deadlines and everything triggers my anxiety. It’s a very specific reaction, too.

Do All The Things Right Now.

The fun part about this anxiety and resulting response is that I don’t even need to have a lot of things on the To Do List to trigger it. The deadline doesn’t even have to be that dire. Sometimes, my anxiety decides to make it dire. It’s not ideal. Sure, in the past it’s forced a high-level of productivity because I would indeed try to do all the things right now, but the panic-flail nature of it would take a serious toll on my sanity.

In the past few years, I’ve made major strides with this particular anxiety issue with a simple bit of advice.

What do you need to do when you’re in a hurry? Slow down.

I’ve taken that approach when my anxiety tells me that I need to Do All The Things Right Now. I slow down. I lay out the schedule of what needs to get done and then I only do those things. Yes, I could probably do more, but I don’t let myself. If I do, then I’ll fall into the trap of doing all the things at the expense of myself. This doesn’t always make the itchy, dire feeling go away, but it will eventually. It might take a night’s sleep to feel better. But the point is that I’m able to get to that sleep because I’m not making myself do all of the things to try to make the itchy, dire feeling go away.

For example, Grinchmas almost always triggers the Do All The Things Right Now response. The combination of whatever projects I’m working on and the need to make and mail gifts and cards and to do all of my baking makes it nearly unavoidable. The only way I’ve found to cope and not feel like I’m failing is to schedule everything. Yes, I write down in my planner what day I’m baking sugar cookies and what day I’m mailing cards along with what project I’m working on that day and what I need to do during my library shift that day. To fight the urge to do all of the things right now, I have to show myself that all of the things will get done in time.

To get everything done, I have to slow down. One thing at a time until it’s all done. The slow progress guarantees I’ll get everything done without sacrificing my mental well-being to do it.

I”ll be honest. It’s been a game-changer for me.

Slow and steady really can win the race.


2 thoughts on “The Slow Down

  1. Ouch! That hit home today. I’ve battled anxiety for over year, something I didn’t start dealing with until I was 44. I’ve learned to spread my to-do list out over the week. It’s still a constant battle regardless..

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