stop checking the boxes

Stop it. Just stop right now. Do what you have to do. Interlace your fingers together, clench your hands still, sit on your hands, tie them down – just stop. How many times throughout the day do you physically or mentally ‘check’ your to-do boxes?

I do it all day long and you know what – it’s exhausting. It’s ‘check one off’ and onto the next. I don’t even give myself time to think about it. Check – it’s done what’s next?

It’s like I’m a robot. Programmed daily with a list of chores, or items to complete and check off my list. It’s sick. And, the power it has over me is debilitating. My head hurts, my body hurts, my heart hurts and longs to just sit down. I want to sit down in the peace and quiet and just focus on one thing – maybe even nothing.

“Set goals,” they say. “Get organized to simplify your life.” “Clean your closets out and donate those old toys the kids don’t play with anymore to help minimalize your life.” I say, “Are you kidding? Is this a joke! These kinds of instructions don’t work for a perfectionistic overachiever.” My behaviors and habits laugh in the face of these comments and say, “Yeh, we’ll turn this into a spreadsheet, create a formula, color-code it, scale a drawing, make a chart, tie it up in a bow and get ready for the next one!

I started journaling a few months ago to help me focus, to slow down and to set goals for myself. Ha! What was I thinking? I started ‘checking’ all the boxes, making sure each and every question was filled out and every box was ticked off and every line was written on. Where does it stop? I thought to myself, maybe I should have bought an empty lined journal or a blank page type. But, then I thought again and said to myself, “Yeh, right. I’d totally turn that into another line-filling, page-numbering, planning tool disaster.

Empty the dishwasher, check Facebook, pack Ava’s lunch, wipe off the counter, make Max’s breakfast, check Instagram, scheduling that appointment, check my email, take a shower, run to Target, sweep the floor, throw the clothes in the washer…. seriously? All these things send me down a whirly twirly cycle of despair and a mountain that I will never reach the top of – that I am continuously climbing.

So, why? Why do I let myself get into this tight little wound up ball resembling a Tazmanian devil, running around like a crazy person, crossing all paths, dotting all ‘T’s,” crossing all “I’s,” and dusting everything in my path with a nice thick coat of ‘get shit done?’

I know why I do it. I do it because I need to be productive because I don’t feel like just me being me is good enough. I need to do ‘things’ to feel like I did something with my life and didn’t just sit there and let it go to waste. But, you know what? Some of us don’t need to get organized or begin a journal, or start a blog, or business or become a medal-winning athlete.

Some of us just need do two things each day – sit and take a breath. No more.


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