Personal Prioritizing: We Suck At It


Anxiety makes us bad time managers. Thoughts don't pass by, gentle puffy clouds we want them to be. Anxious thoughts are greedy hands, reaching out, asking for more time and attention.

"The lightbulb over the back porch is out. I better fix it." Where others might be able to take note and continue their day, Gaddies end up in a whirlpool of what-if's and perceived negative outcomes. "If I don't change it, something might happen tonight and I might need a light." "If I don't get to it now, I might not get to it for another couple weeks." Changing the light bulb mounts the to-do list, becoming as important as getting to school on time, getting work done.

Clearly articulating the problem to solve is my first step to build out the GAD tool kit for priorities. The problem: Every to-do hits my brain laced with adrenaline and cortisol,  bursting onto the scene as a bunch of pushy P1's, all wanting to be on the top of the list.

I know that my eventual solution is going to involve defusing the initial thought. I'm going to use my physical response as a guide. It might look something like this:


1. Thought hits.

2. By hits, I mean, it suddenly seems super important.

NEW STEP! Check in with self: are you feeling neck tightness or shallow breathing?

IF YES, what mindfulness technique could help?

3. Before continuing with new, adrenaline-fueled task, go through a mindfulness technique, be it meditation, noting or describing the situation in words. "I am standing on my back porch in the morning, on my way to work, seeing that the light has burnt out."

4. See if any of the techniques change how the task gets prioritized.

NOTE! Don't do task without asking yourself: is this really the most important task for me to be doing right now? Am I doing it out of panic? 

I'd love to hear others' approaches to working around the GAD adrenaline panic. What works? Has an approach seemed like it should work, and it didn't? Since this is something I really struggle with, I'd love more insight and input on it!