Being overwhelmed is a constant state for most of us. The list of to-do’s can never seem to get to-done, and distractions know no limits. Being a list-maker can help, but some of us have a tendency to either make too many lists or put so much on our agendas that it’s not feasible to finish any of it.
At a coffee date with Maddy Hoeltke-Brown, we talked about the unconventional way we are approaching life with our side hustles and how the 8-to-5 scene is not the career path we have followed. Even thought we’ve chosen different paths, Maddy is just getting started in her business ventures, while I’m trying to evolve with mine. She asked if I had any advice to help with her whirlwind of distractions as she tries to get a good focus on building her graphic design business.
First of all, I do not profess to be a guru in business and my blog and writing career are just getting going, but I know a little something about helping people pave paths to success from my experiences on the farm and in the classroom.
To get started, I shared Lysa TerKeurst’s story of dedicating time to her desired work. In her book, The Best Yes, Lysa talked about making the decision to take her writing seriously and scheduled time on her calendar to do just that. TerKeurst reflected the first time she had to turn down a lunch date because she had scheduled time to write. The act of saying no to someone, because she chose time for her own goals, made her feel guilty at first. Eventually, Lysa found that giving herself time to do what she needed to be successful was the ultimate route for making her goals realities. I advised Maddy to do the same. Each week I plan time to write and most weeks I am successful, but I also realize that life throws priorities in my way and I have to compromise to keep the big picture moving forward. That realization led to my second piece of advice.
Be kind to yourself.
Sometimes I miss personal deadlines, and I’m certain Maddy will too, but understanding a key to sticking to dreams is to realize a set back is NOT a stopping point. It’s a starting point.
After talking about how easily distracted she was by all the opportunities out there, I told Maddy that maybe she needs to align her lists with their focus.
I keep one list for home/farm to-do’s and a list for my writing. The best way I have found to keep from drowning myself with either list is to stick to the scratch-off system. I start with about 10 priorities and don’t add anything else to my list until I have scratched another off. Nothing feels better than making a mark to signify success. It is so empowering to scratch off one chore or another.
The Intentergy message here is give your lists a healthy boost with the scratch-off treatment. This is a treatment that will allow you to be more productive and focused. Don’t let the distractions of social media, housework, unnecessary snacking, or other temptations pull you away from what you really want to do.
If there is an itch that feels like it needs to be scratched, visit your to-do list. Can you afford to take the time away from your goals to give into that temptation or can you hold off on that pesky impulse until you have given your agenda a scratch-off treatment?
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Maddy also shared some adorable gifts with me from her studio. I’m so glad I added a coffee date with Maddy to my to-do’s!