I was getting ready for work early one morning. As I stumbled through the darkness in my house, my mind kept racing through all the things I needed to do that day, that week, and the remainder of the month. The more I thought about all the tasks I had to complete, the less happy I became.
When I got in my car just before 7:00 a.m., I turned on the radio to listen to my usual mix of football talk and a variety of music. As I drove down the road, I still had all those different things running through my head that I needed to take care of.
Cars swarmed around me on the interstate. It seemed like there was way more traffic than usual for that time of day. And I noticed that the traffic wasn’t moving a normal speed.
About ten minutes into my forty-five minute commute, I decided to do something different. All the traffic, the tasks I needed to finish, and whatever else awaited me that day were causing me to stress out. Even the radio wasn’t helping settle my mind. And the bigger problem was that more and more of my mornings were becoming that way.
The first thing I did was turn off the radio. I already had enough things going on around me and in my head, adding to it with the clutter of talk radio or music only served to make things worse. Initially, I was slightly unsettled by the lack of artificial noise in the cabin of my car. But it didn’t take long for me to actually start enjoying the quiet peace of the road.
As I became accustomed to the quietude of my car, I let my mind drift back to the things I needed to accomplish for the day. I decided that instead of setting goals to hit for things related to my work and business, I would simply acknowledge those things. I literally spoke to myself in terms of saying, “Today, I hope to get this done.”
By framing it in terms of things I wanted to do rather than needed to do, I took away the negative power of my tasks as being some kind of burden, and turned them into something I looked forward to. As I went through the list in my head, I started feeling more energized about completing those items. The biggest side effect was the tremendous feeling of relief I felt.
I had settled into a peace that carried through all the way to when I went to bed that night.
A strange thing happened as well. I noticed less and less traffic hovering around me, and the road seemed to open up as my journey continued. I even ran into fewer red lights than usual as I neared my destination.
I spend most days in a dragging state of fatigue until I finally lay my head down at night. On this occasion, however, I had high energy throughout the entire day, something that is extremely rare for me. And when I got home, I still felt good enough to go for a run and get some writing done.
I have since repeated the same process every morning and seen the same results each time. By learning to quiet the noise and remove the sense of need to complete things throughout the day, I found a system that helped me enjoy each day more than I ever had before.
What will happen if you reframe the tasks in your mind and turn down the noise a little? Give it a try and let me know how it works. Or if you have some other things you do, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.