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Making Space 2022: Day 10

I often get stuck on my to do list because when I can’t do everything at once, my brain won’t let me do anything at all. I end up doing what I call ‘skimming the surface’ of my list – keeping it all in my brain, hopping from idea to idea, feeling busy but not actually getting anything done.

I don’t know if this is an ADHD thing, a Christine thing, or a ‘most humans’ thing because, after all, I have always been me and I have always had ADHD, so it’s a bit tricky to know if my sticking points are universal.

However, after reading Martha’s 2020 post ‘Pick one thing‘ – I suspect that the feeling is pretty common even if the frequency by which it happens to me may be an ADHD thing or a Christine thing.

I’ll talk a bit more about that below but, in keeping with the ‘pick one thing’/keep things manageable idea, I have picked a couple of very short videos today.

The first one is 3 minute video that really just focuses on one area of your body. If you are carrying tension in your back, it will affect your entire body so this is an excellent example of how focusing on one thing helps you in a variety of ways.

This Mayo Clinic video is called Deskercise – Lower Back and Torso Stretches and features a person in a striped shirt sitting in an office chair which is turned away from the desk and computer behind her. She is wearing glasses and she has her hair up in a claw clip.

Given that we are concentrating on ‘pick one thing’ today, I thought this very short meditation would be useful. It’s about resetting your focus – which is always handy when you are trying to pick something.

This ‘2-Minute Quick Focus Reset Meditation: Regain Focus to Work, Study, or Get Tasks Done’ short meditation video from the Headspace YouTube channel has a still image with a purple background, text that reads ‘ 2 Minute Focus Reset’ and a series of concentric circles on the right hand side. The innermost circle has an emoji-style face with its eyes closed and a small smile.

Now the chatty part:

When I find myself skimming the surface of my to do list, I feel awful. My mind feels scattered, it feels like my tasks are building up, and it seems like I will never be done and things will just get worse.

Martha’s advice to pick one thing is terrific and it really helps.

I would just like to add some layers to that.

She mentions in her post that if you have decision fatigue and you can’t decide what to do, any method of decision making will help – you can close your eyes and pcik an item, you can call a friend to pick a number from 1 to 10…and so on.

I would like to add that if there are no obvious priorities and you don’t know where to start then it probably doesn’t matter where you start. Anywhere you start will help you move ahead and break that ‘stuck’ feeling. If you feel uncertain about just starting anywhere, pick an amount of time to work on your first choice, set a timer, and when it goes off, reassess whether you should keep working on that item or switch to something else. Often, once you have worked on something for a few minutes and your mind has settled, you will be able to prioritize.

Another thing that helps me when I am facing a huge to do list that I can’t figure out a ‘logical’ way to prioritize is to pick things that will make a visible difference. If I have a huge stack of dishes, I wash the pots because they look the messiest and they don’t stack well. If I have a bunch of small items on my list, I will set a timer and knock those off one by one because my list will look VERY different with a series of checkmarks than it will if I just do one thing.

Finally, the thing that I often forget is that I don’t have to *finish* something for my work to count (or for it to feel good. It sounds ridiculous but I really do forget that working on things eventually gets them done. (This may indeed be an ADHD specific item.) Anyway…if I have a huge project but I don’t have time to do it all at once, I often find myself avoiding it. However, if I commit to working in it in short bursts, it does move the project forward in a visible and satisfying way and it often reveals what needs to be done next on the project even if I am not clear in the beginning.

So, if you have a huge, kind of intangible task on your list, framing it as ‘work on thing X for 10 minutes’ instead of ‘do thing X’ might help you feel in charge of it instead of feeling stuck.

Whether you choose to do these videos today, whether you pick one thing, or if you are taking some downtime, I hope that you have space for yourself in your day today. I wish you ease. ⭐💚

About Making Space

About Making Space 2022

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.