Meal prep, cleaning up, grocery shopping, reading through and responding to emails – those are a few of the things I do every day that never go away. Other people have more things – social media, for instance.

I can’t say that any of these things take over because I have a way of dealing with them that works. But it might be a problem for you.

Not to say I don’t have things on my to do list that have been on there for way too long and that tend to grow rather than shrink. Those things grow because I’m afraid of them – advertising myself being the biggest one. Yes, I write blogs, but I don’t see that as advertising; more as something I enjoy doing. But anything to do with spending hours figuring out the right words to engage in in order to sell myself not only fills me with dread, but like Tinbergen’s seagulls, it freaks me out to the point that I blank out. Tinbergen studied seagulls to see how they interacted with each other, and discovered that seagulls fall asleep in stressful situations. The seagulls fall asleep; I blank out.

As a result, that particular item just keeps getting bigger. As it gets bigger on my list, it looms larger in my mind, taking up more and more space. This effectively deprives me of that space for other, more important things.

The solution? Yes there is one, and you probably already know it – you simply need a reminder. The solution is to take one tiny step – the first step to getting this thing done. If you chose what that step will be and you continue to find yourself stuck, that means the step isn’t tiny enough – make it tinier until you find yourself doing it. Then schedule the next tiny step. Then the next … like the tortoise who beat the hare, eventually those tiny steps begin to reduce that mountain of a never-ending task, and eventually it is done.

By the way, some of those never-ending things that I do are distractions – distracting me from even thinking of the ones I really don’t want to do. There’s an answer to that too – also one you probably already know: make that tiny step-for-the-day happen first thing. That way, your mind (and spirit) is free for the rest of the day!

There are other ways. I’ll give you one of many: In the video included in the newsletter (if you subscribe) you’ll learn something about the Kooktyre peoples of Australia, who communicate by way of cardinal and non-cardinal directions. For instance, within that community, if someone were to ask you to move your breakfast plate, they would always add where to move it, say, to the North North-East of the corner of the table. The way to say hello in their language is to ask which way a person is going. The correct answer would be something like “I’m heading South South-West. How about you?” In that language, you always know where you’re going. If you were to apply that to your daily tasks, how might that shift things for you in how you know where you’re going?

There’s a challenge out of this that I offer you – how can you shift things in your mind that will help you know where you’re going and how best to get there?

I’d love to know.

How language shapes the way we think

Quote of the Week 

“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished..”
– Neil Gaiman


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