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Monday, December 12, 2011

Scheduling Life Outside Your Head



Let’s discuss the future. The future is not Now, yet on a practical level it deserves some consideration in the Now. It’s not necessary to dwell on tomorrow too much, but you do need to have some sort of clue as to what you are doing today, next week, and next year.

Planning for the future, scheduling small tasks, appointments, and goals is an important part of being a functional adult. Especially in today’s society, it has become necessary to organized and prioritize life at least to some extent. There’s nothing wrong with planning. Planning has its purpose.

Thinking about the future is part of being a human being. The problem for unhappy people is too much thinking about the future in negative ways. When you worry about what may happen later today, tomorrow, and next year you are focusing on all the “bad” things that may possibly occur. Most of the time these scenarios never play out. By worrying, unhappy people occupy their minds with negative thoughts which creates anxiety. They worry about every little thing, making themselves a nervous wreck.

Worrying about the future is just as unproductive as dwelling on the past. There’s nothing you can do about the past, it was as it was. In the same way, the future will unfold as it will, with or without your worrying.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan and be prepared for life. Be proactive, do what you can to anticipate life and drive yourself toward your dreams. But, let go of those thoughts that needlessly focus on undesired outcomes. When you worry, you are preoccupying your mind with thoughts that generate anxiety, which results in stress. If you find yourself worrying, gently bring yourself into the present. Evaluate the concern you were thinking about and decide if there is something that you can do to prevent the undesired outcome. If you can be proactive,do it! And then let the situation go. Don’t allow the worrying thoughts to take over your mind and hijack your emotions.

Since we live in a busy world, there is usually numerous activities that need to be scheduled in the near future. Set aside time to prioritize and schedule your life. It probably won’t take more than 15 minutes of your day. You can use this time to do all the thinking and planning for the day. Once this is accomplished it will be easier to push the worrying aside.

Many people find it helpful to address their agenda for the following day before they go to bed. If you have a clear picture of what your schedule will be tomorrow, you will sleep better. There will be no reason to lie awake worrying or even just thinking about all the tasks that need to get done. Do not attempt to keep your entire life scheduled in your head. Use a calender, appointment book, or a PDA. Once you write it down you will be able to let the thoughts go. There will be no reason to think about it any more. The important tasks will be scheduled and you will think about them when the time comes.


Lesson:

Too much time spent on thinking about the future will result in needless worrying. Schedule your life outside of your head.

Exercise:

It’s time to stop worrying and over thinking about everything you need to do. This week start using an appointment book or other form of agenda. Take a few minutes before bed to look over the next day so you know what the plans are when you wake up. Then have a restful night.

If you catch yourself worrying, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Take a deep breath. Evaluate the worry. Is it something you can take action to prevent? If so, then do it. If not, then it's time to let the thoughts flow through and out of your mind. Keep your attention on the Now. Enjoy your time without worry.



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