With the exception of a handful of days, I wake up early, practice an energizing morning routine and get to work. My work days are a mix of writing from home or local coffee shops, meeting friends to brainstorm and create, working with clients and developing new projects (see the latest below) to help you simplify your life and do meaningful work.
And then there are those handful of days when I don’t feel well, like today. I woke up at 4am sick to my stomach. I’m not sure why, but do know that I don’t have the energy to commit to the day I had planned. Instead of getting it all done, I have to conserve energy, take care of myself, heal, and identify what I really need to accomplish.
If you are under the weather like me, struggle with chronic illness, or are just having a bad day, take the pressure off and ask this question …
What is the only thing I have to do today?
I have 2 work appointments this afternoon, both of which I can cancel if I don’t feel better, so the only work thing I have to do today is write. It’s the most important thing I do.
The only thing I have to do today at home is take care of my sweet dog Guinness. He is curled up next to me in bed and doesn’t ask for much, but I know food, water and a walk is the least I can give him. I’m sure I’ll add in a few cuddles and treats too.
I have a short list of other things that I could do, but they can wait. If I feel better later I’ll do them and if I don’t, I won’t.
- email can wait
- cleaning can wait
- errands can wait
- all of the other bits and pieces can wait
A few years ago, I would have pushed through, gone to work, ran errands, carried the world around on my shoulders, and pretended I felt fine, only to feel worse at the end of the day and the next day, and the day after that. Sound familiar?
If you had less to do, maybe you would feel even better.
Maybe you feel fine today, but a little overwhelmed or frustrated thanks to your three page to-do list. Use this practice to take the pressure off and pick one – three items as the only things you have to do today. Even the idea of a jam-packed day can wear us down and make us forget what we enjoy doing, and what’s truly important.
Anytime I heavily schedule things or over commit, I feel rundown. We have to create an atmosphere for our bodies, brains, hearts and souls to thrive and that means lighter plates, saying no, and removing distractions and commitments.
Even with children and full-time work, you can make changes that will create that thriving atmosphere for you and your family.
- Schedule a lunch break that doesn’t include errands.
- Give your children a few months of no extracurriculars and encourage them to play.
- Have a picnic for dinner with no dishes to wash.
- Change your routine.
I’ll be feeling better soon, but this is a great reminder that doing less creates time and space to love more, enjoy more, and to be more. Give yourself permission to do only one thing or nothing, instead of all the things.
What’s the only thing you have to do today? What’s the one thing that you can drop?
- The new project I mentioned above is a workshop I created with Tammy Strobel for aspiring authors. It’s local, personal, and will be meaningful to you if you’ve been thinking about writing a book. Learn more here about Writerly.
- Thanks to all of you who donated to the bike team my sister-in-law created to help me fight MS. The ride is this Saturday. If you are still interested in sending a donation, it’s not too late. Visit her page and click “donate to Anne Marie”.