I made a shift almost a year ago to practice doing less. I knew it was something that I would have to practice because there was nothing natural for me about doing less.
I put it on my agenda – do less.
I put it on my to-do list – do less.
I love my to-do lists. I love accomplishing goals and completing projects. I love getting shit done and making things happen. And to be ‘that’ person it just felt wrong to do less. How can you really be more effective by doing less?
It’s been a year now that I’ve been practicing this doing less thing and it has been okay. I learned to slow down in a way that felt incredibly uncomfortable but powerful. It wasn’t like I had hit the jackpot and my life was changing all that much but I heard the whisper that it was working. Then I would slip for a week and go back into my powerhouse, super packed schedule, full of all things important and rushing from one thing to another…soooo busy. Then I would review my Spiritual Journey Agenda and realize I needed to get back on track of doing less again.
Instead of 10 things on my to do list I was only allowed to have 3 things on it. I was proud of myself for doing less. I tried organizing my day around doing what I was passionate about. Creating time to get some of the important work done and not just the busy work. I made time to write, to read, to meditate, to exercise, to turn technology off and really BE with my family and friends. These were all things I wanted to make sure I was doing more of. All the things that had been on the bottom of my list for so many years were becoming habits and now had the prime spots in my daily schedule.
I looked at my schedule from last week and compared it with the year before and it was obvious that I was succeeding. I was doing all the right things. Yet it still felt foggy. Not quite right.
Then I had a mini revelation.
I was meditating the other morning. I was 5 minutes in, just sitting in my chair feeling the energy in my body and connecting when this question came up that has created another complete shift for me.
It isn’t about what I do or don’t do. It’s about how I feel. The question is, how do I want to feel? I had to repeat it a couple of times to really get it.
It’s not about what I do, it’s about how I feel.
It’s not about what gets done, it’s about how I’ll feel as I ‘do’ it.
It’s not about what I did, it’s about how I felt.
I was so focused on DOING less and not in BEING how I wanted to be, whatever that meant. I started thinking about feeling more of what I want to feel throughout my day. I wrote down my desired feelings. It honestly was hard to come up with words for how I wanted to feel. Try it. There are the obvious: happy (I got that down pretty well), joyful, grateful and then there were other feelings I knew I didn’t want to feel and I searched for the right words. It is a work in progress but I feel like I am on to something.
I added this exercise to my morning routine. How do I choose to feel today? I’ve come up with things like:
I choose to feel like I have all the time in the world. How does that feel? It feels yummy.
I choose to feel freedom. I choose to feel light and open (not busy and overwhelmed).
I choose to feel curious (not judgmental). I choose to feel laughter in my heart and humor in random moments.
I choose to feel expansive, big and beautiful.
I choose to feel loved and loving. Kind, peaceful.
I feel blessed. I feel healthy. I feel amazing!
And I can actually feel cheerful as I make lunch for the kids.
At the end of the day I thought about what I did and how I felt. I met with a potential new client. I really enjoyed meeting with her (I felt joyful) and I felt connected with her. I felt at ease sitting with her at her table. I felt confident that I could help her and that made me feel really good. Afterwards I stopped at the grocery store and I felt rushed and annoyed that I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Next time can I remember to choose different feelings when I’m checking something off my to-do list? I think I can. I think I can.
Getting things done is an action and not a state of mind. Throughout the day when I cross things off my to do list I feel awesome. For a moment. Just in that one moment of crossing it off. Now that feels elementary.
I’m making a change to my Spiritual Journey Agenda. I’m replacing ‘doing less’ with ‘my desired feelings.’ Let’s see how it goes. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to get rid of the Agenda.