Have you ever been like me and tended to over-commit or have times when your desires or appetite or life is far more challenging, conflicting, or complex than you can act on in a day? Is it just me? Whether I am fully loaded with work projects or not officially on a job, I have discovered this pattern remains for me. And maybe also like me, you make routines and practices to know yourself, your values, and your commitments. We meditate or exercise or consult with a friend or a divine presence to decide. Or we re-prioritize or act based on our health, financial needs, or the shiny requests and offers of others, of the world.
I often wake up and see and believe way more will happen in a day. It may be a migraine, or a lapse in planning and arrival of a deadline, or an opportunity or something unpredictable and not anyone’s direct influence like a broken car key, change in someone’s plan, or sudden flood that washes out the very road as you drive.
How many things do we commit to accomplish in a day? If you take our your dog, go to work or do something for someone else, make meals, do errands or other personal tasks, then that is a lot. Then there are those times when we get that call from a friend who needs something or needs to talk…but our day is all committed…then what?
If our days feel like they have a healthy amount of activity and balance of rest, fun, relationships, and whatever work is, then this may be a chance to get more creative. Or it may just provide a reflection on how much you are out there able to do, be, and contribute for yourself and others instead of literally doing one thing per day.
If our days feel tenuous and or overwhelming, then this could be an opportunity to hold ourselves more gently and with more space.
I believe in only doing one thing per day. This could be a phone call that is big, or reviewing a document, or a meeting, or a working session, or connecting with someone, or a decision.
Depending on the thing for the day, then I attempt to go ahead and get that call out of the way or submit the application for the thing, if I can clear it. Because if so, then after there is time for …Cookies!! (or some other celebration). And often the things we try to do turn into something else or a series of things, so starting early or scheduling it appropriately helps regardless of the outcome.
Or if it is a day-long thing or something that has to happen later, then I set up the rest of my day with intentional structure around it. If I am committing to having a meeting I know I may need a couple hours before and that means maybe I could rest, do something easy at home, or perhaps something more complex.
Sometimes we need to schedule that one thing. Or tell someone we need to do it or are going to do something about ________.
Doing one thing per day is a practice, though the phrase can be misleading since it can be that while we commit to one thing and allow for others, then. It can be challenging to say no or adjust commitments or plans around the thing of the day. This practice creates intentionality, helps us know ourselves, and constantly let’s us consider what is important, and allow for changes.
I don’t deprive myself of doing more things like scheduling other calls or making plans or whatever. But what is important is the focus and then other things are built around this one thing. Then there is intentional space, whatever comes.
That is the secret of this. By doing one thing at a time, once per day, then it holds space for yourself. And what comes from that can be doing many things. Or not.