Your Invisible To Do List & Quieting the Inner Taskmaster

Your Invisible To Do List & Quieting the Inner Taskmaster

There is no doubt that as of right now, you have already done at least one thing that wasn’t on your to-do list for today.

There is no doubt that every day we are faced with a mountain of tasks that are bigger than our own closets.

There is no doubt that focus is a priority while distractions gain momentum.

For as long as I remember, I have been working with my clients on the idea of prioritizing important tasks over the urgent. And I always get pushback.

If I don’t do the urgent it will just add up.

I can’t just stop doing everything.

Actually, you can and you must if you want to make things happen, take up space and create the impact you want to make in your lifetime.

Listen to this post or keep reading below.

WHAT IS THE INNER TASKMASTER?

In my private Brave Yes Coaching, my beautiful clients — who are creators or changemakers — often talk about being frustrated that they can’t seem to make time for what matter, including their own well-being needs.

But, almost always the issue is never not enough time because almost always the urgency of life has taken hold and what matters most is shoved to the sidelines.

And almost always, we end up talking about your inner taskmaster.

We all have one.

Mine is fierce and related to her sister part of me — my inner critic.

But these two are separate parts that must be addressed meaningfully.

Your inner taskmaster is voice inside your head that is feeding you a running to-do list — an invisible to do list that keeps you constantly moving and running and non-stop busy.

The inner taskmaster is against rest, play, downtime, pleasure, joy, naps, creativity and anything else that does not feel productive.

Your inner taskmaster is the No. 1 cause of derailment of every great idea you’ve ever had that you didn’t make happen.

THE GOAL OF THE INNER TASKMASTER

I first noticed a longtime client’s inner taskmaster rising up when session after session she was getting frustrated with herself for not making more time for art and creativity.

There’s just so many other tasks to do, she said, flat out annoyed.

The signs were all there — she had an inner taskmaster that was feeding her brain more and more tasks to do … little itty bitty pieces of busy work that filled every nook and cranny of her day until she collapsed into bed far later than she wanted and feeling like she didn’t really do anything at all.

THE INNER TASK MASTER IS HERE TO KEEP US DISCONNECTED FROM WHAT MATTERS.

It’s here to keep you working constantly to prevent everything from falling apart.

You don’t want anything fall apart. So you will keep surveying your environment to ensure everything and everyone is safe. This means you spend a crushing amount of time doing productive, preventative mental, physical and emotional labor that often has nothing to do with your dreams, your goals or your personal needs.

A recent client epiphany led to the realization that the inner taskmaster was keeping them from literally enjoying her time at home. She was too busy assessing the potential collapse of everything all around her family life. The schedule. The house. The kids. The marriage.

And then she realized how that same inner taskmaster is showing up at work as a leader perhaps stressing her and her team more than necessary.

LEARNING TO QUIET THE INNER TASKMASTER IS A PROCESS THAT BEGINS WITH NOTICING IT.

When one of my clients gets into a session and starts talking about her overwhelm, her lack of time, her feelings of frustration at not making time for herself or her passion projects, I am there to remind her that her inner task master has taken over.

The first and fastest way to quieting the inner task master is to notice when it is calling the shots and controlling the show.

The inner taskmaster will tell you that you have to hurry up and get ALL THE THINGS DONE before you can rest.

“Let’s be honest, rest will be so much more pleasurable when you don’t have things hovering over your headspace.”

YOUR INNER TASKMASTER

And, of course, your inner taskmaster will keep you so busy because the finish line is impossible to find. The enoughness is blurry.

WHEN A NEW TASK SHOWS UP, IS IT RELATED TO YOUR GOALS, YOUR DREAMS, YOUR NEEDS? OR IS IT BUSYWORK?

When we know what matters most to us, it’s easy to decide if a task is important or just urgent. The little fires that pop up each day are going to always need to be assessed.

The problem is when we don’t know our purpose, our path forward. If your are not clear on your goals and dreams, it’s even easier for the inner taskmaster to take over and run your day.

Write down your important, life-giving goals and the tasks that belong to them.

And then when a new random “little fire” pops up that calls your attention, assess the real risk that is unfolding.

This is when slowing down and pausing before each task can be a great help.

And take note.

Perhaps that urgent task isn’t as urgent as tending to yourself, your bigger dreams or your ways or your ways of being connected in this world.

Lack of Time vs Lack of Impact

Lack of Time vs Lack of Impact

In this week’s episode of The Brave Yes Show — the first one after a summer hiatus — I’m getting on my soap box about the idea of lack of time and what that means.

If you read my post last week about wasting time, you will know that my philosophy is never to start looking at where you can get strategic about adding things in. It’s always going to be about what you can eliminate.

But in this podcast, I’m talking about how I know if I’m doing enough, what it can really mean to feel like you have a lack of time and how to judge your own productivity.

Take a listen now …

15 Time Wasters To Stop Doing in Order to Make Progress On Your Goals (and One Energy Booster To Add In)

15 Time Wasters To Stop Doing in Order to Make Progress On Your Goals (and One Energy Booster To Add In)

Your time is a precious resource. Once you use it, it cannot be given back to you. This is why it’s so important to really understand all of the time wasters to stop doing so you can really use your time more wisely and powerfully.

Certainly there are a lot more distractions now compared to a decade ago and focusing — especially if you work at a desk and computer and own a phone — is a challenge. Our information overload is causing exhaustion, burnout, apathy and an inability to focus. 

Like everything, technology is something we need in moderation. We need to be able to temper our own sense of urgency and cope with the fear of missing out and we need to be able to prioritize. 

But, let’s be honest. Our time wasters aren’t just happening by checking email too much or scrolling on social media. 

Many of my clients come to me with a very clear mission. They want to make a big change in their lives but they feel utterly lost on the actions they need to take.

“Just tell me what to do,” they beg and plead. 

My job as your coach is to help YOU know what your next move is. 

But first we almost always have to do some other work — letting go work, especially around time wasters to stop. 

Letting go, surrender and trust work has been a showcase of the work I’ve been doing for a decade with my clients who are ready to step more bravely and boldly into their next act in life.

Because the truth is that before we can move forward and truly thrive we must first do the work of letting go of what is no longer serving our businesses, our creativity or our well-being.

That might mean …

:: Letting go of a former identity that you can’t shake (I have a beautiful coaching session that I offer my clients who need to do this!)
:: Letting go of a program or offer that isn’t working out
:: Letting go of a job or career
:: Letting go of a person or team member
:: Letting go of a bad habit
:: Letting go of a pile of shoulds, coulds and what ifs
:: Letting go of an income stream that isn’t serving your heart-centered values

It’s only after we free ourselves of the weight of what is not working that we feel light enough to rise up and soar. Trust me, I’ve been there. Over and over and over.

Letting go work is not easy work but it’s essential work. Once we clear space, a new energy forms within us and in our creativity blooms and flourishes. 

Sometimes, though, we have to begin at the very beginning — just starting with a promise to ourselves about what we will not do today. I asked my audience on LinkedIn about this very idea and they came back with some great responses — 15 energy zappers that we can all let go of today, I’m sure. 

Here are 15 Time Wasters To Stop Doing in Order to Make Progress On Your Goals

  • I will not check email outside designated times.
  • I will not doomscroll.
  • I will not ruminate and over-perfect.
  • I will not work on projects that zap my energy. 
  • I will not spend too much time planning out every little detail.
  • I will not obsess over things that are not in my control.
  • I will not overschedule meeting time over maker time.
  • I will not forget to look away from the computer if I have been working for at least 30 minutes.
  • I will not let other priorities immediately drop into what’s on deck for the day as they arrive in my inbox.
  • I will not stress about what needs to be done.
  • I will not worry, doubt, let fear paralyze me, won’t scroll or skip meals.
  • I will not have unnecessary meetings because I love talking to other people.
  • I will not get sucked into fixing website issues.
  • I will not spend more time than necessary going through emails.
  • I will not forget to continue delegating.

Once we clear away the cobwebs of overwhelm and distractions — and what is not serving us — we are left with the essence. The nectar of a beautiful, powerful and productive day. 

In other words, we begin to feel less lost and instead feel more focused. 

But, there is ONE more idea to add in here — Your Energy Bliss List. 

Since my clients are all high achieving creators and changemakers AND juggling self, family and home responsibilities — busy is an understatement. We need all the energy, space and clarity we can get to perform at our highest level to do bolder things.

Your Energy Bliss List is one of my own favorite practices — and one

I’ve been inviting women to use for years. It was actually one of the very first exercises we did in my popular online program starting in 2012. 

**Your Energy Bliss List should be energy boosters you can do very simply and very easily in your home or work space.

These do not take up more time or energy. They BOOST your energy.

As I write this post, I have a candle burning and my writing playlist on — and a cup of coffee. This little ritual of these three things is an automatic creative energy booster for me. 

PROMPT: Create your Energy Bliss list — a short list of a handful of powerful things that boost your energy and give you joy and delight in your day. 

4 Slow Living Practices to Spice Up Your Creativity and Life

4 Slow Living Practices to Spice Up Your Creativity and Life

There is nothing better than a full creative life where we are using every aspect of our creative energy to thrive and prosper in this world.

If you talk, make, lead or work you are likely creative.

I talk a lot with my private coaching clients — creatives and heart-centered womxn who know they are more capable than they are showing up in the world — about how vital my creative energy is to me and how I work tremendously hard to maintain a strong sense of vitality and clarity in my work as a creator and coach.

And, with that, I am also a fan of slow.

The first book I wrote and published was called Savoring Slow.

Keeping and maintaining a slow life is becoming more and more of a struggle in this modern era of constant information and rushing around — especially now that the pandemic is over in some parts of the world and life is resuming to normal.

But, for me, keeping a slower pace means truly slowing down.

And now just what I put on my schedule — but in all that I do.

If you are mentally and emotionally zapped all the time, it may be time for you to slow down as well. And perhaps you’re wondering how to even do that with a super busy schedule.

At the start of summer, during our Emerging You Retreat, I vowed to myself that I would try my absolute best to maintain the same slow life that I had gotten to enjoy over the pandemic.

And I’ve managed to do just that — with a few exceptions out of my control such as needing to get my twin teenage daughters to and from work and heavy client calls during two weeks out of the month.

The truth is that if we want to create more space for the things we love — our YES projects and more — we need to have the emotional and mental bandwidth as well.

4 Slow Living Practices to Spice Up Your Creativity and Life

4 Slow Living Practices to Spice Up Your Creativity and Life

Slow Reading

This has been by far the No. 1 game changer for me. It began with slow reading my emails.

Yes, emails. I subscribe to a lot of beautiful email lists. I love to read what a soulful, smart person has put their heart and soul into and I always want to give them the time they deserve.

Until I adopted my slow reading habit, I often ignored most emails or delete without reading — which didn’t feel good. Now I subscribe to the best ones that fill me up, make me think and I take time on Saturday mornings to read through them, slowly.

The same goes for books. It’s easy to get caught up in the “what are you reading” spin cycle that leaves us rushing to get through books to get to the next one. Or, to have a pile of books on our nightstands that we snap an Insta about as a performative gesture. But the truth is that great writing is meant to be relished, savored and truly absorbed. You can sign up for my newsletter here.

Slow reading means being fully present for the reading experience. It means reading to learn, reading to reflect, reading to appreciate, reading to enjoy the act of reading.

When we slow down our reading habit, we may not rush through and meet our 100 book reading challenge or get to all the bests — that fear of missing out is real — but we will soak up the story or the information in a more pleasurable way.

My slow reading habit is now a part of my daily routines and, as a result, has influenced my own creativity. I find that I am picking up so much more details and great one-liners that I am using them more in my conversations and starting more conversations with others about them.

And by reading more deeply, I am also finding I am able to string together more creative ideas of my own — and my own love for writing has deepened as well.

Slow Cooking

Chop the carrots, the celery, the onion.

Sauté with some oil and spices.

Stirring together a few ingredients to make a perfect sauce.

Sipping a drink, swaying to the music on the speaker, embodying the moment.

Taking your time with layer after layer of a recipe that is more involved and more challenging, even, is a beautiful practice to slow things down and allow all of your senses to wake up. This sparks creative energy inside of you, especially if you are fully embodying radical presence.

In all the hype to get things done more quickly we forget that creativity thrives with space and spaciousness and there is nothing more interesting than getting an idea while stirring a pot of simmering soup or folding in the cream.

The benefits of slow cooking is the way it ensures that everhything

Slow Practice

When we expect to get things done perfectly the first time, we set ourselves up to not only fail but also to give up on trying.

Like this blog post.

There was a time in my life where I could — and would — write 2,000 words and not change a thing. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

Now, I see a blog post draft as a starting point.

This is the practice.

The practice of showing up. Doing the work. Making it happen without any judgments of the outcomes.

This is how we let go of perfectionism.

Your creative practice — gardening, indoor plants, crocheting, painting, content marketing, planning out lessons, styling a room or baking a cake — needs your practice.

Slow practice just means you aren’t in a hurry to finish. You aren’t in a hurry to get to the end. You are enjoying the act of creating, making, writing, doing.

Slow practice includes a lot of breaks, breathing and boundaries to prevent you from giving up.

Slow Waking

I am a huge morning fan. I just love waking up and starting a new, fresh day. I don’t need much motivation to get out of bed. I hop out quickly most of the time.

But one of the things I’ve been playing around with lately — because I am at that stage in my life where I can — is that I am intentionally waking up more slowly.

I’m stretching in bed.

I’m moving more slowly when I step out onto the floor.

I’m spending longer time in meditation and yoga.

I’m journaling more slowly.

It’s all unfolding but at a pace that feels slow, nourishing and pleasurable.

Our creative energy doesn’t just show up spontaneously when we sit our butts in the chairs or grab the brush or try to solve the problems.

Our creative energy begins with how we wake up, how we move through our day, how we shape our lives.

What slow living practice will help you thrive in your creative work today?

A Dose of Inspiration for When You Feel Torn Between Doing and Being

A Dose of Inspiration for When You Feel Torn Between Doing and Being

Listen, my dear one, you absolutely, 1000% deserve to feel really, really good every single day of your life. Including TODAY.

And contrary to what you may see over and over on the Internet … doing nothing isn’t always what makes you feel good.

What?

It’s true.

I know because I doing nothing has about one minute of charm for me – a doer.

And, I also know because I am hired primarily to be my clients’ MIC – Motivator in Chief.

Our tendency as human beings is to rest. It’s actually quite hard to make ourselves work really hard.

And all that pushing that we do to keep up, striving and make things happen is what is utterly exhausting.

And that is what seems to be driving so many people’s desire to REST.

Years of languishing, striving for perfection, overworking, being the Good Girl and doing so much for others has got you to a breaking point of burnout and exhaustion.

But like usual, I have a lot to say about these conflicting thoughts between doing and being, working and rest and striving and settling.

I’m a big fan of building in sustainable rest, renewal and revitalizing in mind, body and spirit SO THAT you can do all the amazing things you want to do in your life without forcing it.

I’ve been talking about all of this for years because I know for a fact that we thrive when we’re in flow DOING.

But WHAT YOU ARE DOING is what matters most and when you put your own #UnshakeableResilience at the forefront you are stronger in mind, body and spirit.

I am a doer. I take very good care of myself. My well-being is a 10 6/7 days of the week. I am not problem free or struggle free. I work very hard for my family and my life.

AND

I want desperately to make a bigger impact, to disrupt the status quo that so many others are happy to duck out of and away from and to serve deeply in this world.

My inner fire is hot and rest is not really needed when your soul is on fire with passion.

So, I want to remind you that, yes, you need to take care of yourself AND that isn’t always doing nothing and resting. More often than not it’s actually more essential in choosing the sacred, conscious action that is going to send you into a flow state of joy, contentment and service to others.

Sometimes the Brave Yes is rest.

Listen, my dear one, you absolutely, 1000% deserve to feel really, really good every single day of your life. Including TODAY.

And contrary to what you may see over and over on the Internet … doing nothing isn’t always what makes you feel good.

What?

It’s true.

I know because I doing nothing has about one minute of charm for me – a doer.

And, I also know because I am hired primarily to be my clients’ MIC – Motivator in Chief.

Our tendency as human beings is to rest. It’s actually quite hard to make ourselves work really hard.

And all that pushing that we do to keep up, striving and make things happen is what is utterly exhausting.

And that is what seems to be driving so many people’s desire to REST.

Years of languishing, striving for perfection, overworking, being the Good Girl and doing so much for others has got you to a breaking point of burnout and exhaustion.

But like usual, I have a lot to say about these conflicting thoughts between doing and being, working and rest and striving and settling.

I’m a big fan of building in sustainable rest, renewal and revitalizing in mind, body and spirit SO THAT you can do all the amazing things you want to do in your life without forcing it.

I’ve been talking about all of this for years because I know for a fact that we thrive when we’re in flow DOING.

But WHAT YOU ARE DOING is what matters most and when you put your own #UnshakeableResilience at the forefront you are stronger in mind, body and spirit.

I am a doer. I take very good care of myself. My well-being is a 10 6/7 days of the week. I am not problem free or struggle free. I work very hard for my family and my life.

AND

I want desperately to make a bigger impact, to disrupt the status quo that so many others are happy to duck out of and away from and to serve deeply in this world.

My inner fire is hot and rest is not really needed when your soul is on fire with passion.

So, I want to remind you that, yes, you need to take care of yourself AND that isn’t always doing nothing and resting. More often than not it’s actually more essential in choosing the sacred, conscious action that is going to send you into a flow state of joy, contentment and service to others.

Sometimes the Brave Yes is rest.

Sometimes the Brave Yes is digging Sometimes the Brave Yes is digging deep and dusting off your inner fire for your life so you can start floating rather than swimming. and dusting off your inner fire for your life.

JOIN ME! You are invited. Register now for the upcoming Brave Yes Visioning Workshop. We’ll be spending 90 delicious minutes helping you dust off your inner fire and SEE your life more clearly. You’ll want to block off your calendar for this one and bring a journal and plenty of ink for journaling. During this workshop, we will focus on your personal vision as a creative, changemaker or leader. And we are ALL creatives, changemakers and leaders.

💥 Strategic & soulful coaching for creative entrepreneurs & changemakers
🦚 #UnshakeableResilience
🎙 Host: Brave Yes Show
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