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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jude Black

Calling all list-makers and over-schedulers!

Just Do the Next ONE Thing

Life is busy and your time is valuable. And likely you have days when you wake up and wonder how you will get it all done without a clone. I’ve had that experience – as recently as last week. My schedule was packed with meetings, training classes and a to-do list longer than my day planner allowed. (I’m beginning to wonder if I create tasks just to challenge my date book capacity.)

Some of my to-dos are immediate. Many of my tasks are long-term projects with deadlines weeks away. I have to get to them eventually, but they get shuffled to the end of the line.

Some of my tasks are half-finished, like the bedroom I started painting – after watching an HGTV marathon – and never finished (much to the chagrin of my husband).

As my task list grew, I started to panic about how I would get it all done!

Luckily, I remembered the mantra I have being using since I became a life coach:

Take a deep breath and just do the next one thing.

Doing the next ONE thing is easy when you practice being present with whatever is happening right now. When we know the tasks and schedule before us, we are well equipped to know what to do next in every moment. The hard part is to practice letting go of the future and our anxiety about it.

For example, a colleague told to me she was breaking up with her boyfriend and moving out on her own for the first time. Imagining a new life on her own felt like freedom, but she felt paralyzed. She didn’t know where to start, and the idea of finding a loan, deciding on a new home and making enough money to support herself and her daughter was too much. She knew she wanted the end result, but the process of getting there seemed so hard.

“What do you have to do first?” I asked.

She launched into a litany of things that had to be done and almost started crying from the sheer overwhelmed feeling that threatened to crash over her sense of hope for the future. “Maybe just go to one bank this week,” I suggested. Instantly, her shoulders visibly relaxed and she smiled. She knew in that moment that she didn’t have to move out tomorrow or even next week. She and her boyfriend were co-habitating for the time being, and that felt like comfort. She had time to do the next ONE thing. Taking this huge process and reducing it to its least common denominator was energizing for my friend.

Just go to one bank.

Then, just fill out that form.

Then, do what comes next.

Rome wasn’t built in a day – and houses are not painted in an hour (despite what HGTV shows).

When life becomes overwhelming and our to-do lists are growing faster than grass in springtime, relax and take a deep breath.

Be very present in the moment because that’s all you have to worry about.

And in that moment, just do the next ONE thing.


About the Author: Wendy Gauntner is a certified Martha Beck Life Coach for E-Therapy Café. She is also a writer and author of Lee & Me: What I Learned from Parenting a Child with Adverse Childhood Experiences based out of Wyoming. Wendy is E-Therapy Café’s Confidence Builder, Champion of Caregivers, Story Shifter, Creator of Calm, Inner Purpose Tracker and Wayfinder. To schedule a session with Wendy and channel your inner time-ninja, click HERE.

E-Therapy Café™ is a people-focused, innovative online counseling and coaching platform for individuals, couples, families and corporations. The mission is to provide professional, convenient, and affordable, modern online therapy – anytime, anywhere for everyone. The Boutique Team of Licensed Therapists and Certified Life Coaches are passionate change catalyst, focused on realistic goals in today’s fast-paced world. The headquarters is in Northern VA with a nationwide and global reach.

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