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4 Tips To Stop Living The Checklist Life

Kuel Life Featured Images March 2022 5

Parent Coach for Moms of Teens: Fern Weis

Pay the bills, run the errands, keep track of everyone’s schedule. When you’re done, you check it off. Are you living the checklist life?  And are you an afterthought?

Joy In Your Life:

Think there’s no time for you? Think again. If you don’t make the time, your body and your mind will rebel. Peaceful and satisfying moments are not optional anymore, not if you want better health, more patience and joy in your life.

“If you ask me, we ought to be removing tasks from our day.”

Do you remember the Day Timer calendar? Everyone was using it to figure out how to get more done in the day, to fit in just one more thing. If you ask me, we ought to be removing tasks from our day.

Years ago we invested in a little vacation home in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Time stands still there; the days seem to go on forever. I’m not surrounded by my suburban home, clutter, cleaning, bills, and all the rest. It’s my respite from the daily hustle and chatter.

The Checklist:

Even up there, though, I’m tempted to hook into the measurable, the checklist. 

I took the dog for a walk and set an app to track time and distance. After halfway through I was itching to check the app. How many steps? How long a walk?

I can’t tell you how much self-control it took to not look. Maybe this isn’t an issue for you, but in a world that expects instant everything, resisting that urge was a big deal.

The beautiful, natural surroundings called to me. The chirp of crickets, the wind blowing through leaves. It took a conscious effort to experience that beauty, rather than to measure my progress.

Back at the house I was more relaxed. My mind was quieter. Mindfulness works.

“It is recommended to help people when they are ‘flooded by their emotions’.”

The faster life moves, the more we need to slow down.

Here Are Four Ways To Stop The Checklist Life:

1. Focus On The Task At Hand:

(This technique comes from Family Recovery Resources. It is recommended to help people when they are ‘flooded by their emotions’. It works for everyone.

It’s a simple process. Look at your hands. What are they doing? Focus on that experience. If you’re folding the laundry, say to yourself, “I’m carrying the basket to the bedroom. I empty the basket and sort it into pants, shirts, socks, underwear. I take the socks, spread them out and sort by color, etc.”

This technique moves the focus from ‘getting it done’ to observing every step of the process. There is no pressure, just the experience. You are mindful and in the present moment.

2. Meditation:

(No groans, just keep reading.)

I resisted the idea for years, until someone explained that it wasn’t about clearing my mind. Clear my mind? There’s a committee in there!

While I don’t practice every day, when I do it helps me move that chatter into the background. The chatter is exhausting and anxiety-producing. I pay attention to my breath and the voice of the teacher. It gives my brain a few minutes of peace.

If you haven’t already used them, check out Headspace (they offer 10 free meditations), and my favorite, Insight Timer.  It’s free for the thousands of meditations, and you need a subscription (very affordable) for their courses and other special products.

“When you intentionally look away from your checklist, you will feel refreshed.”

3. Pay Attention To Details And The Natural World Around You:

Do you have paintings in your home? Notice the brush strokes. Look at the patterns in your wood furniture. Pay attention to the smell and texture of your food. Gaze at the clouds. When you intentionally look away from your checklist, you will feel refreshed.

4. Take A Longer Shower:

Let your thoughts wander in there. It’s easy to do. I speak from experience when I say that the hot water is relaxing and gets my creative spark going. I’ve come up with solutions, insights, and topics for articles in that tiny space, free from distractions.

What have you tried? What are you willing to try? Moments of peace, patience and grounding are yours for the taking.

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Fern Weis

About the Author:

Fern Weis is a Parent Empowerment Coach for Moms of Teens and a Family Recovery Coach. She’s also a wife, former middle school teacher, and the parent of two adult children who taught her more about herself than she ever could have imagined.  

Fern partners with moms of teens and young adults, privately and in groups. She helps them grow their confidence to build strong relationships and emotionally healthier kids who become successful adults. She knows first-hand that when parents do the work, the possibilities for change are limitless; that it’s never too late to start; and you don’t have to do it alone. Learn more about Fern at www.fernweis.com.