REFLECTION: It was late in the evening just before Hallowe’en. I was chatting on the phone with my daughter, and had just recited the litany of tasks tackled so far that day. It had been a demanding day in the office. I had followed up my post-work exercise class by running several errands on the way home. And, I’d invested a couple of hours getting things ready around the house to host a guest for the weekend.
As I finished giving report on my day, I heard myself say, “And I still HAVE TO carve the pumpkin before I can go to bed.”
Wise offspring played back my very own words. “You HAVE TO carve the pumpkin?” I could hear the raised eyebrow in her voice. She knows how much I enjoy creating those Hallowee’en jacks.
And in that moment, I realized I’d just loaded myself down with yet another DB – a Discretionary Burden.
There are all kinds of tasks and experiences that will take a certain amount of time no matter what our frame of mind: traveling to a business engagement, attending a community meeting, visiting an elderly relative, even carving a pumpkin.
But the nature of our experience depends on whether we approach it from an overburdened sense of duty and obligation or with a lighthearted sense of joy and service.
Each task that we peg as an obligation adds to our feelings of overload. Those tasks approached in the willing spirit of service have an entirely different impact. They contribute directly to our satisfaction and a sense of purposeful engagement with the world.
ACTION: The good news is we are each in charge of our own mindset. When you feel overloaded and overwhelmed, watch your thoughts and listen to your words.
See how many tasks you turn into Discretionary Burdens as you make your way through the day. The fewer tasks you tag as DB’s, the lighter your load will be.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.” – Author Unknown
PS – Be kind to yourself!
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: If you ever want to know more about a word, its origin and history, its usage, related images, expressions and quotes – more than you could even imagine asking, check into Webster’s Online Dictionary. As an example, here’s what it has to say about today’s word, burden: http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definition/burden
READERS WRITE: Re last week’s, Pause message on ‘Grate Expectations’, ES writes: “Thank you! Great article! Although I think it applies to me even more outside of work than at work, or at least in pursuing all my “important” goals without letting any of them fall by the way side, even for the short term. So hard to choose what to let go, even just for now.”