3 Easy Action Steps To Ease The To-Do List Overwhelm

I was walking down the stairs making a mental note of my endless list of things to get done. The voices of my excited children vaguely sounding in the background. I hear them calling for me, but I am so lost in what needs to get done, that their voices fade into the background. I was way past the sticky note versus the to-do list conundrum.

A bright and early summer morning. Eager and active kids waiting to be entertained, meals to be prepared, chores to be done, work, and deadlines to be met. Barely 10 am and I found myself in overwhelm.

As Mark Silver points out, "If there is one thing that is completely common ... it’s overwhelm. We all get there at least occasionally, and some of us seem to have set up permanent residence. Unfortunately, the view ain’t so nice, and the rent is exorbitant."

Stop. Breathe. Go outside for some fresh air. I hear my inner voice nudge gently. 

Determined  to find a way out of this endless overwhelm cycle, I discovered three action items that appealed and have helped me stay calmer, grounded, and getting more done. 

3 Easy Action Steps to Ease The To-Do List Overwhelm.

1.Make this small tweak to your to-do list 

Inspired by this entertaining and short little tweak from Marie Forleo, I found myself getting through more items quicker on my list. 

Marie, named as the next generation thought leader, shares a simple way to tweak our to-do list. I have  to admit it's a simple idea to kick your brain into action! 

2. Clear The Center Of Your Home
 Architect Jonathan Lipman shares that everything in nature has a silent core - the Brahmasthan (the place where the sacred resides). From vast galaxies to the cells in our bodies, we all have a silent core (The Universe is pretty consistent!). All activity happens around it.  In a structure the central space is the Brahmasthan. 

When we erect walls and add a roof, we enclose Universal Space. This structure begins vibrating with the Cosmic Breath. If we follow the geometries and  patterns of nature and construct it using Vedic architecture, this vibrating structure is embodied with a light energy core at its center that has a strongly life supporting influence on us. 

Whether the structure is a Vedic one or not, this central space is a powerful energy core. It's the heart of the building. From here earth and cosmic energies radiate through the whole building.

 A clear center gives the occupants a constant opportunity to, as architect Michael Borden puts it, "visit at the altar of Universal Life"

  • Clear the Brahmasthan of any clutter, or heavy furniture. Clutter/heavy furniture in the Brahmasthan radiates its essence (the chaos and heaviness) into your living experience. This makes your everyday tasks more difficult, your to-do list seem longer, and you reach overwhelm quicker.
  • If you have a staircase, a toilet, a sink, a fireplace, or stove, right in the middle of your home you may find that your to-do list gets longer and longer and that it takes you more effort to get through even seemingly simple tasks. If this is the case there are two ways to ease this overwhelm
    • Architect Michael Mastro suggests using a clear, round Austrian faceted crystal . Hanging it right in the Brahmasthan can help ease this burden of overwhelm some. The molecular structure of crystals mirror the patterns found in all living matter. Crystals are, therefore, able to magnify life force (cosmic breath, chi, prana).
    • Spend more time outdoors in nature. The more time you spend in the building, the more effect it has on you. If you find yourself in constant overwhelm, especially if you are in a structure with a blocked Brahmasthan, spending time outdoors in nature will help replenish your energy with the Cosmic flow.
3. Work With The Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind Principle. 
Clear All Surfaces (atleast the surfaces of the rooms  you spend most time in) of visual clutter. Unsorted mail, half done projects, toys, and  everyday clutter pile on your subconscious mind.  

7:10000. That's the ratio of our brain input. In just one single second, our logical, conscious mind, left side of the brain, takes in and processes 7 inputs (possibly smell, light, sound). 10000 inputs are taken in by our creative, right side of the brain, the inputs that go directly to our subconscious mind.

Having surface clutter constantly takes a toll on our brain leading to overwhelm and chaos. Here are two starting points

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
A recent field of study neuroesthetics combines neurological research with aesthetics by investigating the experience of beauty and other visual stimulus on the level of brain functions and mental states. It combines perceptual psychology, evolutionary biology, and neurological potential and functional brain anatomy. 

Research has shown that when people are surrounded by nature, beauty, or geometrical presentations, their nerve cells cause a biochemical release that leads to a state of natural high (our brain's direct response to the scene being viewed and experienced.) 

Clear surfaces, objects from nature (fresh flowers etc), and arranging decor in geometrical presentations causes a direct positive neurological response in your brain reducing overwhelm and irritability.

Be Gentle With Yourself
While your workload will not automatically disappear, these 3 action steps can help you access what you need from a heart centered space. You will know which tasks are priorities, which can wait, and which should never have been on your list in the first place.

And as Mark Silver suggests , "Be gentle with yourself! Overwhelm is not a fault, it’s a natural condition that sometimes arises for us as humans. Similar to thirst or hunger, it merely tells us that we need something that we’re not accessing in the moment." 

I, for one, have found a vast improvement and have had fewer episodes of irritation, anger, or just plain overwhelm. Go ahead and give it a try.

How do you handle overwhelm? Have you noticed a correlation between the physical clutter surrounding you and your irritability? Share your thoughts in  the comments below.

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