Welcome to your best week

day 3


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Hello, lovely, and thank you for joining me for Searching for Serenity's seven day tutorial series Your Best Week. Now, today we are on day three. We are already rapidly coming up to halfway through the week, so we're going to start kicking your to-do list and the things that are really giving you anxiety into high gear. Now, so far this week, we've already covered self-care, which is something I want you to keep on with, and I will touch on this again later. We've also been using the time sheets to look at what you are doing through your day. You may have already identified where there's procrastination, where you are wasting time, whether it's dead time. You probably also now have more of an understanding of just how much you do each day. Taking that information, taking that knowledge, we're going to start applying it to make you more efficient and to really give you the kick that you need to be able to free up those buckets of time to look after yourself, to give you more aim, and to give you more speed and energy. So let's get right into it.

This really is one of my favourite tools, and it's so simple. It's something that you've probably been doing for years already, but it might be quite sporadic or it might simply be it comes up when you're quite stressed. This is something that I would advise you get into the habit of doing all the time, and that is creating your list, your to-do list. Now, I told you it was simple. However, what I want you to do today with your notebook is to sit down and to write down, first of all, everything, absolutely everything that comes to mind. Everything that you've been worrying about. Everything that you know you need to do. Everything that has to get done, whether this be work, home, whether it be things in the background, those tasks that we all need to do like checking our car insurance is up for renewal and getting the best deal. Just download them all from your brain onto a piece of paper. You don't need to organise them at this stage. You don't need to worry about how you're going to order them, what's more important. Just get everything from here onto the page.

Now, once you've created the to-do list, you may well start seeing some consistency amongst the tasks. I will be introducing you to one of my favourite tools to organising your to-do list by urgency tomorrow, but for today, all I want you to do, you can use coloured marker pens, highlighters, a radical system of stars and triangles and squares if you want to start identifying where these tasks belong. Is it work? Is it home? Is it home admin? Just so that you can see where these tasks belong. What we are then going to do is batch them all together.

Now, batching tasks is one of the best methods for efficiency. I think we've probably all heard about the once-a-month cook, batch cooking, things like that, but most people don't apply this to their work life, and they don't apply it across the board for home life, either. For example, if you are going to do your insurances, if you're going to do a financial review, you get it all done in one day. You take one half a day, you apply everything, and it's done. Better yet, delegating it out. If you've got a financial advisor or a friend who's an accountant, give it to them. It's so much more efficient to get things done that way.

This is what we're looking at here is, one, reducing your anxiety by getting things out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Later on, we can look at other note or other online tools to help you with this, if you want, but get it out of your head and onto a hard format so that you can see it, so you can update it and adjust it. Also, so other people can see it, if necessary. Two, we are also looking at increasing your efficiency by managing those to-dos in the most effective manner possible. The first and the biggest tool that I will ever bring to you is batching your tasks. I apply this a lot at work. For example, if there's a certain type of document I have to review across 10 different files, I will do it at one time so that I get speed up, I'm looking at the same information each time, I'm not flipping about looking for different information across files, whatever it might be. Batching those tasks together, both at work and at home, will increase your efficiency.

The first thing is get the to-do list down on paper. The second thing is to look at batching those tasks up after you've delineated between work and home. Then, allocating, using the time sheets, the time to get these done. Now, I'm not asking you to clean the to-do list, because I am not crazy and I'm not going to put that kind of pressure on you. Using your time sheets, as I said to you yesterday, using those time sheets to set out what you are to do and when, you can start planning in those tasks.

I will look in this more depth with you tomorrow about urgency and importance and how to know which tasks to do first, but if you know that you've got a large group of tasks coming up, say you have to complete the paperwork for your re-accreditation or you need to get training done, setting aside a chunk of time, a half day or an hour here or there to get that done means that it's in your diary, it will get done. No one will get that time. You're not just going to sit there watching Friends. It'll actually get done. That's the main task for today.

Now, I appreciate that downloading everything out of your head onto a piece of paper may well take you longer than 10 minutes. However, it is worth doing this. It is also worth keeping that piece of paper with you. I constantly use counselor's notebooks, which are A4 blue pads of paper. I'm not going to lie to you, I've probably destroyed a small forest by now using my counselor's notepads to keep my to-do lists and updating them all the time, because when I keep it with me, I will think of other things. Other things will crop up. I will add them to the list. I am bringing this to you because when you are exhausted and overwhelmed and stressed, firstly, you will notice that your memory becomes less reliable. This is because we all have a certain capacity, a certain energy limit, that our brains have, and when we reach it, it will focus on the tasks that keep you alive. It will not focus on whether you've sorted Mrs. Smith's insurance renewal out at work. That's when we start to struggle.

People like you and me, we rely on our intelligence. We rely on our good memories to get us through. When that starts to fail, it's terrifying. We're going to free up your reserves by putting everything down on a to-do list. It means you can refer back to it. It means you have the joy of crossing through those tasks when they get done. Get in the habit of doing this, and it is one huge less thing for your brain to worry about. You will no longer be reliant on making sure that you keep everything in your brain and the anxiety that you feel. When that to-do list starts running out and you can see lines across a piece of paper, you know you're getting on top of it. How many times have you realised you're getting on top of it but are so used to running at that pace and being constantly anxious and running a to-do list in your head that you don't quite believe it and you think you must have missed something? You know that there must be something else to do.

We're going to reduce anxiety. We're going to free up our mental reserves. We're going to allow our brains to sign off, rather than constantly retaining things in our short and long-term memory. We're going to be able to objectively assess each of the tasks that we need to do, rather than simply running from here to there to there to there in order to get one thing after another done and never doing it efficiently and never feeling on top of it. Get this task done today, and I would really encourage you to keep your to-do list, keep adding to it. Keep a notebook that is solely for everything that needs to get done, and every time something needs to get done, you note it down in there. Categorise it later, organise when it's going to be done later, but keep that notebook. This is something you should keep going beyond this week, because it will stand you in great stead.

Finally, I just want to briefly bring to your attention your self-care, because now is the time that if it's going to fall off the waggon, that's when it will fall. Make a recommitment to yourself to this cause, to the ideal of the better life and to the idea of not feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Every time you want to recommit yourself to that ideal, the first step is self-care. Every time you recommit yourself to that ideal, put the time in your diary for 10 to 15 minutes just for you to have a bath, to relax, to see a friend over a glass of wine, because everything in this course, everything in this ideal, comes back to you. If you get used to putting yourself first, even if just for a tiny, tiny percentage of your day, then we can work miracles from there.

I will leave you with your notebook and pen for today. Let me know how long it takes you to write out your to-do list. Once you get on a roll with it, you will find task after task after task will just suddenly pop into your head that you realised you needed to do or needs to get done or that you'd forgotten about or you were reminded of. Let me know how you get one with this one. I'd love to hear from you. As ever, if you want to reach out to me in the Searching for Serenity Facebook group, then do tag me in a comment, or you can always email me directly at hello@searchingforserenity.co.uk if you need more help or more assistance. I will be back in your inbox tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this task today. I've kept it short and sweet. I will catch up with you again tomorrow. Take care of yourself. Bye for now.