Happy Herbivore Blog

Minimalist Monday: Don't Focus on the Undone

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

One of my self-improvement projects this year was to read more business books and blogs. I don't have visions of building an empire, but I realized knowing a little bit about business could go a long way for me - -both with Happy Herbivore and my personal life.

Anyway, one of the people I follow as part of this project is Jason Womack. I stumbled upon Jason at SXSW and am currently reading his book, Your Best Just Got Better, which is a great example of how business books can enrich our lives :)

A few weeks ago Jason's weekly email said: "This year - 2012 - is about halfway over. What do you think about that?"

My brain started racing, thinking about all the things I'd envisioned myself doing but hadn't.

Then I kept reading Jason's email, "Our natural tendency is to notice discrepancy. So, what is easy to do? To notice what isn't done... we most easily and readily notice what's not done."

Oh, yes. So True Jason!

Jason continued and his words really resonated with me "Having felt a little more stress than normal lately, I started to explore my own level of "undone" and came to this realization: I'm running at sprint-speed."

It reminded me on my personal mantra which is "drive the bus, don't chase after it" (one day, darn it! I'll drive the bus!)

Taking Jason's advice, I did two things: 1. Recognize a recent accomplishment 2. Recognize something someone else has accomplished that I'm proud of.

I don't want to air a friend's personal laundry on my blog (re: #2), but I can share #1, which was that after who knows how many rounds, I finally decided on a cover for my third cookbook, Happy Herbivore Abroad. That is absolutely worth a small celebration and my attention.

Jason's email made me realize that Yes, I have so much more to do -- and it's not going away, but it's worth taking a moment to remind myself there's more than just the undone to focus on.

It's worth it, if not necessary, to pay attention to what I've accomplished. Why was I always thinking and focusing on what I didn't do, what I didn't get done, and what needs to be done each day without acknowledging all that I had accomplished. Even on a day that wasn't particularly productive, I still accomplished something. Why was I ignoring it and disregarding it totally?

Once I started allowing myself pats on the back, or even just reminding myself of everything I did accomplish, I started feeling a more positive work-life balance. I started feeling better about myself, and what I was doing. I felt better about work.

In looking back, I see how focusing on the undone created a negative energy. It was pessimistic. It was definitely taking away from my zen and happiness, not adding to it. I was, in a way, beating myself down. Even though I wasn't being ugly with myself a la "you lazy dummy! look at all the stuff you didn't do!" just focusing on the undone in general was putting a damper on things. Taking the time to see all I did do, has made such a difference.

What have you accomplished today?

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