Instead of putting as much as you can on your to-do list, consider making a stop doing list and add some breathing room and peace into your life.
This is my year of letting go, one of the things I need to let go of is the idea that I can be perfect. It’s great to try to be your best self but when you beat yourself up if you aren’t perfect at everything that’s going to lead to a lot of stress.
In my quest to live a more mindful and less stressful life I have been reading and learning more. I started off the year with Crystal Paine’s eCourse 15 Days to a Healthier You. I really enjoyed it. It also got me to finally start reading her book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life. I’m not also going through her e-course follow up to the book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.
It has really spoken to me. She talks about health issues she faced that were largely caused by stress and running on empty. Over the last couple of years I’ve had some health issues as well and I know they have been made worse due to stress. I try to do it all and perfectly.
Shockingly this plan doesn’t work very well. When you have too much on your plate nothing ends up being done as well as you’d like. None of us are perfect and no one can do it all.
We all have just 24 hours in a day and ideally we are sleeping 7-9 of those hours. As much as I’ve tried to cram more than 24 hours worth of stuff into my days it never seems to work. I just end the day with a ton left on my to-do list and feeling like I failed.
I’ve read so many things on time management. While I do need to work on time management because it’s not my best skill, Crystal’s book has really opened my eyes to the real problem, I’m trying to do too much. I want to say yes to everything and that’s not possible.
Another thing that Crystal has talked about in some of her courses is the idea of a stop doing list. The idea comes from another book on my reading list, Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy by Alli Worthington.
The idea of having a list of things you need to stop doing is really appealing when you feel like you have too much to do. It’s basically a list of things that you need to stop doing to reach your goals and add more time and value to your life. Things that don’t add value, joy, or help you reach your goals need to be stripped out so you can do more of what matters and of what you love.
Creating a Stop Doing List
Everyone’s stop doing list will be different but I have a few things to suggest you consider adding to your stop doing list. Build off of these suggestions and find the other things that are robbing you of time without adding value or joy to your life.
1. Comparing Yourself to Others
It’s so easy to do this these days. We can look at someone’s social media and think they have it all together but they are just showing us what they want to show us.
The other day I cleared off part of my desk to take a photo of my snack. It looks all neat and pretty but what you don’t see is the stack of papers on the other side of my desk. I showed just the pretty part I wanted you to see.
Try to keep these things in mind when on social media. Sometimes it’s also good to take a break from social media and focus on yourself without those distractions.
2. Worrying About a Perfect Home
In Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, Crystal talks about as a child dusting baseboards and cleaning plants with cotton balls. She believed this was normal until a friend told her it wasn’t. It’s not that these things were bad but they also weren’t something that needs to be a big priority.
I know some people have opened my eyes over the years to the fact that some of my cleaning habits are outside of the norm as well. As a homemaking blogger I feel added pressure to have a perfect home. If someone is coming over I suddenly feel like I must get everything perfect. Are they really going to check to see if I’ve cleaned all my air vents? Doubtful.
Letting go of feeling like your home needs to be perfect can often help your home get closer to that goal. When we feel like we can never do something well enough it’s easy to lose motivation.
Depending on your season of life decide what is truly important. Things like a clean kitchen and bathrooms and keeping up with dishes and laundry (at least enough to prevent family members from having to go naked) may be all you can do right now, that’s okay.
3. Not Taking Care of Yourself
I love that self care is becoming a trend, it’s about time. This is an area I really struggle in. I’m a people pleaser. I’m that person that can’t enjoy something until everyone is settled and happy. Wanting people to be taken care of and happy isn’t a bad thing, unless it comes at the expense of yourself.
You know in the airplane when they say put your mask on first, we should be doing that more in our lives. I’m not saying be selfish or always put yourself before others, just make sure you are being taken care of as well.
You can’t expect anyone else to take care of your health and happiness. Others may help but we can’t put that responsibility on others and if we aren’t taken care of it’s much harder to take care of others.
My nighttime routine is one place where I try to add in some self care. A bubble bath, a good book and a cup of tea is one of my favorite ways to recharge. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time but you need to put yourself on the top of your list.
4. Always Saying Yes
This goes along with trying to be perfect and not taking care of yourself. Since I work from home people think I have lots of free time and often try and get my to volunteer for things. For years I’ve normally say yes to these things, even though I know I don’t have much free time.
“Time doesn’t expand limitlessly. When I say yes to one thing, I must say no to something else.” – Saying Goodbye to Survival Mode
Remembering that quote is really helpful for me. I’m now working on only saying yes if the thing I’m saying yes to is worth saying no to something else.
The other day I was invited to something that really wasn’t of interest to me. It’s not that it was a bad thing or that I wouldn’t have enjoyed some of it but it just wasn’t worth saying no to something else. I felt some moments of guilt but guess what, everyone that did go still had a great time and I had a great time doing what I decided to do instead.
5. Doing it Alone
I have chronic tension headaches. They started when I was a teenager and no cause as ever been found. For awhile they got better but lately they’ve been back and sometimes they turn into migraines or cluster headaches.
Since I’ve had headaches for so many years the more mild ones I can ignore. I’ll have some caffeine and be able to work through them. However, they sometimes get to the point where nothing is cutting it and I need a break. This is often at dinner time.
I like to cook all of our food from scratch. It tastes better, normally is better for us, it saves money, and most of the time I like cooking. This is all great until you feel horrible and need to start dinner, then you really wish you can bought some frozen pizzas or boxed food.
Lately this has ended with my husband having to convince me that it’s okay to let him go get something out or eat something like a sandwich. And he talked to me the other day about making room in our food budget for a few easy meal options each month. I have fought this because I plan to make a lot of freezer meals but he is right, for now I should give in. Freezer meals will slowly fill the freezer as I feel up to it and have the time. Until then accepting the help of some easy to make meals is okay!
It’s hard to admit we aren’t perfect or that we need help, but it’s true for everyone. I’m still working on my full stop doing list but these are some of the things on the top of my list. I recommend you write your own and keep it somewhere you will see it often. Mine will be going in my planner as I use my planner everyday. It will be right in front of where I put my to-do list so it will be a reminder everyday.
I’d love to hear some of the things on your list. Do you struggle with the things I talked about?