Most days I wake up thinking about all the things I have to get done. This is, simply put, the inevitable reality of busy adults. There are bills to pay, dogs to walk, kids to raise, jobs in which to perform, and then cram in all the little errands required to keep a household going and you’ve got a recipe for stress and mental exhaustion.
As adults, we have a responsibility to keep it together and get things done. Busy thoughts are a vital survival mechanism passed down from the caveman days. We keep mental lists of the things we need, or think we need, so we can keep our families fed, clothed and happy. The mental chatter is necessary, but it can become a problem when it affects our productivity and leads to stress (read more about the effects of stress on health and my tips for calming here).
The best thing I’ve found to clear my head in the morning is to wake up with gratitude. So many of us think we don’t have enough time, resources, energy or whatever it is we think we lack in order to get those things done. Lack becomes part of the mental list running through our heads each morning.
Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, think about what you are grateful for and you’ll be able to seize the day. Oprah Winfrey once said “If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” As those busy thoughts begin to come, think of the first three things that pop in to your brain that you’re grateful for in your life. Make this a regular practice and you’ll find it will help turn that mental chaos into order and you’ll be able to get more done in your day.
If I tried to get everything done on my to do list, I would end up not accomplishing anything. Remember the 80-20 Rule. According to this principle, 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. So the best thing to do is to begin your day focusing on the tasks with the highest priority (the 20%). Take a few minutes first thing in the morning (after your gratitude exercise and breakfast) to write down your 20% list. Let’s face it, the 20% things, those things with the highest priority, are usually the things we’ve been dreading to do. If you get those 20% done first, everything else in your day will become easier and you’ll end up getting more done.
Another tip for getting more done in your day is to add aromatherapy. Breathing in essential oils actually activates the limbic system in the brain which controls emotions, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, the release of certain hormones, and stores memories. Think about it, when you smell cookies or pies baking, does it remind you of your grandmother? Have you ever smelled lavender or frankincense and felt calmer? I have found that essential oils not only support my health, but they improve my moods, help to clear my mind, and focus on my to do list. Try incorporating essential oils into your home and workspace.
My favorite oils to help clear mental chatter and improve concentration are frankincense, cedarwood, white fir, and black pepper. Try adding a drop or two of each to a diffuser. I use only 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils. For more information on the essential oils I choose to use in my life, click here.
You will find that you’ll get more done in your day if you make a daily practice of gratitude and accomplishing the 20% of tasks with the highest priority. With more done you’ll have less stress and a calmer mind, plus, space will be freed up to bring new possibilities into your life.
Here’s to a more productive life!