I usually have about 2-5 pieces of crumpled notes in my pocket at a time. I’ll be mid conversation when remembering to e-mail so-and-so back will smack me over the head. So I’ll grab paper, jot it down, and remember to do it later. At the end of the day I have a list of what I need to do, and everything that’s not accomplished get’s bumped to the next day. It makes me feel accountable. I don’t like letting things linger and having a list of a million things to do. Procrastination is like dating an emotional vampire. It’s draining, it’s not doing you any good, and it’s a weight you’ve chosen to carry and burden yourself with, leaving you with that anxious feeling in your heart.
Even with a list of things to do, my mind will see the list and start jumping into additional things that need to get done. The thoughts start pouring in uncontrollably, and I feel an enormous weight of having to complete things for projects that aren’t even in existence yet.
I’ve recently discussed my uncontrollable thinking with my yoga teacher, Will. “I’m so stream of conscious that I jump from coffee table gossip to Somerset Maugham because someone at the next table said something about habits, and then I thought of my blog post the other day and then I thought of Maugham’s quote ‘Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit,’ and then I jump into a conversation about changing habits, and my friends are like, where the EFF did that come from?” There’s only one person who can track my stream of conscious outburst from its origin, and he’s up at Harvard. I call him the string to my balloon, because he in fact, keeps me grounded.
My string has been gone a few months now, so I’ve been feeling particularly ‘floaty.’ Will gave me much needed advice. He told me to categorize my thoughts. “What is your number one goal? To move about freely with an unafflicted mind.” Yes, I get that. “See yourself carrying an umbrella. That number one goal is the umbrella.” If I can stand under that number one goal, and always have that to return to, it’s a good shield against the rest of the sh*t pouring down. “Start from the top with that initial thought and goal, and move down the body towards some career thoughts. Continue down to some relationship thoughts. When things seem to get mucky below the crown chakra and umbrella, return upwards towards the number one aim. You’ll stay as dry as possible this way. You understand?”
Get things done. Don’t procrastinate. But don’t create a mass of things that need to get done, when in fact, they don’t NEED to get done. Look at what actually needs to get done, categorize your thoughts a bit, and approach life with a more focused to-do list grounded in reality.
Your feet will get a little wet, but you’ll always be able to return to the umbrella and number one goal.