One Thing At A Time

Do one thing at a time.

Such a simple concept, yet one we find almost impossible to do.

Think of all the stress we could avoid if instead of rushing around, multi-tasking and buying into the concept that being busy is a sign of productivity, we instead paid attention to what we were doing right now — this very moment — and gave it every ounce of our attention.

Think of how much more enjoyable and meaningful life would be if we did that.

But it’s almost impossible to do one thing at a time. 

We have become slaves to our to-do lists and the technology that was supposed to simplify our lives. 

A few years ago, time-management and self-help gurus advised us to rename our to-do lists “action lists.”  

That, they said, would help us focus on the things that would propel us toward our goals and eliminate the trivial little ‘to-dos’ that kept us stranded in the status quo.

But who were they kidding?

In the middle of action lisiting our way to writing a best-selling book, headlining at Carnegie Hall or retiring at age 35, the laundry still had to be done, the kids still needed feeding and oh, yes, there was that little thing called a job that inconveniently robbed us of 9 hours each day … and that’s not even counting the commute.

So by the time we sat down to do the things on our action list, we were too exhausted to even remember where we’d left it.

And even when we did manage to check off a few things on the list, there was no enjoyment in the process because there were still so many things left to do.  We didn’t have a  feeling of accomplishment.  We were overwhelmed by what needed to get done.

So we rushed, rushed, rushed like mice on a wheel and ended up here.  Tired, confused, burned out, weepy and pissed off.

Here’s what I propose. 

Instead of stressing out about what we should or shouldn’t be doing, what goals we have or haven’t accomplished, blah, blah, blah, how about we try just being. 

Let’st try it for a day. 

Who knows.  We might like it.  We might finally slow down long enough to realize, hey, my life is pretty wonderful just the way it is.  Perhaps we’ll start being grateful for the things we have instead of longing for the things everyone — especially advertisers — tell us we need.

Come on, do you really need six-pack abs?  A new car every year?  Season tickets to a sports team that has had a losing season for the past 10 years?  You get the point.

Perhaps we’ll realize that all those action-oriented people who look so cool on the outside are keeping up a facade that is so exhausting to keep up that they have no time or energy to enjoy the perfect life they wear as a costume when they’re around the rest of us slobs who are too busy living our lives to care about what anyone thinks.

Perhaps we’ll realize that life really is simple.  It’s people who complicate it.

Today’s action list:  Do one thing at a time.  Oh, and remember to breathe.

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