If you’ve ever had a family of squirrels living near your yard, you may have noticed how they’re always running around. They are constantly finding nuts and bits of food, and running to find the best hiding place for it, which unfortunately they will almost immediately forget. It’s true – squirrels only find ten percent of the nuts they hide, so that causes them a lot of unnecessary scampering to and fro.
Maybe they’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of nuts they have to gather and store, and they forget to take stock every now and then and monitor what they already have. If you feel like one of those squirrels, running around and gathering nuts, or putting out fires, or running business errands, and you feel like time is slipping away from you, then the thing to do is just: stop. Sit for a few minutes in a place where you don’t feel rushed, and write down everything that’s important for you to do.
If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of details you have to take care of in order to make your current plan viable, then don’t spin your wheels. (Because you don’t have time, right?) While you’re writing things down, you might find it helpful to designate one sheet of paper as a list of things that must get done TODAY, and use another sheet for a list of tasks to accomplish this week, and if there are long-term goals on your mind, use another sheet to list these for handy reference.
Now post them where you can see them, except for today’s list, which you’ll want to keep with you because you’re going to get these particular tasks done TODAY, right? Then do them. Let go of anything else for the day, and focus on the list, completing each task. After every item you accomplish, you will feel the sense of a weight lifted – one less thing on your shoulders. At the end of the day, if you still have tasks left undone on your list, write them down on a sheet of paper for tomorrow and get them done tomorrow (and anything else that comes up during the day goes on tomorrow’s list, too).
The squirrels are busy all day every day without really getting anything done or put in place for the future, even though it looks like they are spending all their time on it. It’s easy to be busy, but don’t be driven by the same urgency that drives the squirrels, similar to the stress you feel when you are overwhelmed by important details. Stop, do a little planning, and then follow through with your best, most efficient efforts. Then you’ll experience what the squirrels never seem to feel: peace of mind!