As our lives expand, we seem to be moving faster and faster.
In reality, the longer we live, the more experiences we have to remember—and to forget. Life isn’t speeding up, we are. And sometimes it feels like there are just not enough minutes in the day to get it all done.
With competing priorities and busy agendas, little things—like organizing, cleaning, or following up on an email or phone call—can quickly turn into larger problems. And if left undone, a list of unfinished tasks can create grounds for frustration, self-blame, and procrastination.
The farther away we get from something, the more energy it takes to return to it.
So how can we find a better balance between getting things done while still maintaining forward direction? We learn to develop a do it now mentality by following our nudges.
A nudge is our intuition— those pings or flashes of inspiration from our inner being that remind us when the timing is right to take action. Nudges often come as a feeling in the pit of our stomach or a deeper gut instinct—a feeling of awareness deeper than our thoughts. We all have intuition, and when we learn to follow it, we can experience the benefits of its guidance.
Following our nudges by completing simple tasks can help us develop new habits that produce ripple effects. Now, instead of little things adding up to bigger problems, they add up to accomplishments—and a sense of completion can start to build positive momentum, thus avoiding procrastination altogether.
Curious? Here are few examples of having a “do-it-now” perspective:
Make your bed each morning. A popular commencement video featuring a former Navy Seal, Admiral William H. McRaven, draws attention to this simple act (scroll to 4:45). According to McRaven, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.” This relatively small, yet powerful, habit can lead to feelings of accomplishment that can spill over into other areas of your life.
Pick up after yourself. If you make the mess, clean up the mess. And clean it up before you move on to another activity. Just like we tell children, “Put away your toys,” when you take an item out of its storage place to use it—like something out of a cupboard or drawer, etc.—put it back when you’re done. Put your clean clothes away right after doing the laundry. Clean up your workspace after a project. Avoid procrastinating because of laziness or fear—just get started on whatever you don’t want to do and the inspiration to finish it will come.
Do dishes immediately after meals. This one (and many others) comes from Mom. Not only will this complete the mealtime experience, it also prevents the kitchen from attracting unnecessary pests and bacteria. In fact, I have learned to clean up and wash dishes as I am cooking so that after dinner, there is little left to do. Tip: If you have a larger pan or bowl from cooking, add soap and water to create a soak bin while you’re eating. When you’re done and ready to clean, the pan or bowl is, too!
Make the call; write the email; or have the discussion. Some issues need quick resolution; some need time. But if you’ve been avoiding follow-up on something (or someone), listen within for a nudge when to take action. And when you feel it, act. Feeling the nudge means we’re in better alignment with the solution, and sometimes even a small step can make a big difference.
Eat your vegetables; drink more water; and eat this, not that. When we’re busy, our food choices can become unconscious. Start paying attention to what you eat and drink and your sense of balance will be profoundly affected. Choose healthy over junky; natural over artificial. Listen to your body and follow the natural nudge to fuel it with vitamin-rich, healthy foods and drinks. Your body will thank you!
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg helps people maintain balance during transitions in their work, relationships, and life. Learn more at michaelcreative.com