It’s tricky to switch off when your mind is full of everything you have to do and all that you have yet to achieve. It’s nearly impossible when you have no idea how to get to where you want to go. I spent many a restless night churning over the options available to get out of a complex situation that no longer served me. It was agonising every time I hit yet another dead end and realised that to fix one thing meant creating a problem in another area of my life. This phase of dawning self-awareness hardly makes for a restful sleep. Once I reached the realisation that I didn’t like where my life was taking me if I remained on the same trajectory, there seemed no place to rest. When there is a gaping chasm between where you are and where you want to be, there is no place to gain comfort. The knowing in your bones that all will be well can feel desperately absent. Fear not; this period of unease is vital in gaining clarity about your situation and precedes a comforting level of excitement and resolve.
Knowing how to switch off takes a blend of approaches in my experience. I have a running to-do list all noted down in a cute little daily planner book. Its restful floral cover belies what it captures; everything that spins round in my head is jotted down with comfort-inducing regularity. Once I know that I’ve captured my thoughts as action points, I can cross ‘worrying about what I might have forgotten’ off my list! I’ve decided to treat my list much as I might approach a lavish buffet. I know all the things noted in my book will lead me deliciously towards my desires. If I start to tackle one of my actions and it’s bland or leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, I re-evaluate if it’s really worth my while. If it is necessary, not time-sensitive and it’s not appealing to me at that time, I leave it for another day. Sometimes the energy for a particular task just isn’t there – it’s your internal navigation system guiding you to place your focus elsewhere. Trust that when you return to this stubborn action, it will be yielding and amenable and you will have it satisfyingly crossed off your list in no time.
In a world where a never-ending to-do list is worn like a badge of honour, I’m happy to have one, but I’m very selective about what makes it on there. I’ve learned to ensure that there is nothing on my list that should be on someone else’s! If there is anything on your list that you feel you should be doing, remove it! The word ‘should’ indicates that you are doing it because you think you must, or that someone else has told you that you must. You will never be able to switch off while you carry around other people’s expectations of you. Your expectations of yourself are quite enough! Politely inform anyone that has dumped their task on you that you are formally handing it back. This may take some practice; it can be hard to get out of the habit of saying yes to other people’s expectations of us, but you did ask for help on how to switch off 😉
Once you’ve handed back all the things that others have decided should be on your to-do list, you may as well go ahead and also free yourself from all the things that societal pressure suggests you might be concerned about too. Once that is done you are likely to feel a whole lot more relaxed. It certainly put a spring in my step to realise that I was no longer available for anyone else’s errands or expectations. I was then free to focus on what is important to me. Taking back my life in this way created much more space in my day, week and life. It sparked a long-forgotten feeling of inner calm that totally shifted my internal terrain and a steely resolve to be mindful when another person attempted to harness my energy to meet their ends. Once my daily planner book contained only my priorities, I found the space to tune into me and switch off from the demands of the outside world.
Now being switched on is much more fun. You may even find your need to switch off is less pressing. Focussing only on the things that will get us where we want to go is energising. If it’s not, tune in and find out what needs a tweak till your to-do list feels like a ‘let’s go!’ list again. At the end of the day taking action towards your desires, you will feel satisfied. There is always more to do, but you will feel in control and happy to take a break and recharge your batteries. Action from this new perspective feels exciting and on purpose. Switching off enables you to recalibrate and tune in subconsciously to what’s needed next.
Before long you will notice that the mundane tasks you know you need to do could be subcontracted. Doing what you love and outsourcing the rest has been a mantra of mine for many years. It frees me up to do the things only I can do. This includes being with my children and other people I love and adore (and I place my clients in this category). Committing to do only what you love frees you up to follow your passions and nurture your creativity. Far from the reckless indulgence that I use to believe this was, it is the energy with which I have built my business. I have realised that the desire to switch off was born out of being bored and frustrated with the way I used to run my life. When we live a wisdom-led life, guided by our inner knowing and intuition, the need to switch off just isn’t there anymore.
If you can’t switch off, reach out. You’re not alone and however overwhelming your life is now, I promise you have the power to create success with joy, ease and recognition.
You’ve got this x