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It’s been a hard year.
Over the past several months, we’ve been faced with challenges that none of us have had to deal with before. All of a sudden, everybody’s lives have changed dramatically.
We can’t celebrate special occasions with loved ones out of safety reasons. Many of us are struggling to cope with a mix of emotions, such as fear, sadness, and loneliness. It feels like everything is just hanging in the air, full of uncertainty.
When will it end? And what do we do in the meantime?
The easiest and most obvious answer is: wait. Wait. That’s a heavy word.
Waiting can mean a number of things. It can mean literally standing or sitting somewhere, letting the time pass until something happens. Waiting to check out groceries. Waiting for your appointment.
But waiting can also happen in the background. You wait for better days while enduring the bad ones. You wait for an opportunity.
The problem with waiting is that it’s incredibly scary. You’re investing time into wanting a certain outcome. And will it happen?
Maybe. Maybe not. Depends what you’re waiting for.
Waiting can mean fantasizing about an imagined future. A future that, if and when you reach it, possibly means disappointment at reality.
Waiting is wanting. Waiting is passive. So while you are waiting, there are a number of things you can do.
Here are some things to keep in mind when your life is up in the air. Practicing them will help you cope and hopefully grow in the midst of uncertainty.
Do something that you can do today.
Improve an existing skill. Read about a topic. Reach out and catch up with an old friend. Pick up an interest that’s been lingering on your mind. Do it today.
It may seem obvious to do something that you’ve always wanted to do. But when we’re stuck, it can be hard to get moving again. We spend precious hours in the day yearning for something far off in the future.
So go ahead and busy yourself with that something you’ve been meaning to try. When your hands and mind are occupied with a task, it pushes away your worries and anxieties. At the end, you’ll feel better at having accomplished something rather than stressing about the future.
Take an incremental step instead of imagining a big step.
When you have a big goal you want to achieve, the clear solution is to break it down and work through each component until you get to that goal. The same applies when you have a number of tasks on your plate. Just get through each task, one by one.
What really ends up happening is that our brains become overwhelmed. When a task is too big or there are too many things on our mind, it’s easier to push everything aside and procrastinate on something else.
Instead of thinking about getting multiple things done, pick out that one thing that’s top priority and work on that. When you declutter your mind, you can focus on progressing toward your goals. I talk about getting started in my productivity course.
Think of things in terms of what they are, not what they should be.
We tend to envision how things in our life should look like. I should be at this stage right now. Things should have panned out that way.
The problem with imagining a different present from the real one is that you’re trying to change something that has already happened. Things are the way they are. Nothing you do is going to change that.
What you can do, though, is change how you perceive where you’re at right now. No matter what’s happening, there are things to be thankful for. You can choose how to respond to what’s in front of you. You can choose how you spend your time right now.
Measure yourself by your progress rather than in absolutes.
If you compare yourself to others in terms of who has more possessions or who has accomplished more, you are always going to lose. There will always be someone who seems like they have it better.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Learn from past mistakes, and then learn to let go of them. And especially learn to let go of what’s outside your control.
Measure yourself by how well you’re doing now compared to before. Have you learned more now than before? Have you improved in your personal progress? Are you steering in the right direction? If so, you’re doing what you can. That in itself is something to celebrate.
When You’re Living, You Aren’t Waiting
We’re only given a finite amount of time to work with. Each moment is precious. If you’re spending your time waiting, you’re wasting it away.
When you’re busy, you’re not waiting. When you’re having fun, you’re not waiting. You’re living.
There is a lot of uncertainty around us. There will be good and bad days ahead. But if you take things as they come, you’ll be better equipped to handle the bad while appreciating the good that’s just around the corner.
Powered Up Productivity – A Jumpstart Your Dream Life course designed to help you make the most of your time. By the end of the course, you will learn to start taking action on your goals, get your most important work done, eliminate repetitive tasks, and feel energized in the mornings. Start the New Year off on the right foot by joining.