This is a busy time of year. I am preparing for a major AGM (in two weeks' time), and also organising a conference (in two and a bit weeks' time). Not to mention all the other "ordinary" tasks which are part of my job and the rest of my life. At times I feel like a squirrel in a cage, running round and round, and getting nowhere fast.
But then I remember. Write it down. Even the longest "to do" list gives a shape and form to the scale of the problem (mine has 19 items on it at the moment, some of them quite complicated). But at least I now know what I have to do in the next two weeks, in order to get to the AGM and conference with all boxes ticked and all tasks done. Writing it down has made me focus on the jobs in hand, and enabled me to prioritise them, so that things get done in their due order.
I find that the act of writing something down, whether it is a to-do list or the pros and cons of making a particular decision, helps me to calm down and think more clearly, so that I can make the best choices about what to do when. It is as though a gentle hand has been placed on my shoulder, reassuring me that there is a way out; I just need to slow down, get off the squirrel-wheel and think about it. It once helped me to decide whether to move jobs - I divided a page into four columns, labelled 'Staying: For', 'Staying: Against', 'Leaving: For' and 'Leaving: Against'. It really helped to clarify my thoughts and separate them from my emotions. (in case you were wondering, I left - best decision I ever made!)
And oh yes, no. 20: have a rest day - go for a run, stitch, journal, chill.
But without the list, I would not be able to give myself permission for this sanity clause.