Escaping to-do list hell

Stress and anxiety often come from real problems: we have to balance work, relationships, family life and an endless list of chores. We feel like we can't keep up, and what we're not allowed to relax until everything is done.

Thankfully, there are strategies for dealing with this. In this presentation, we'll look at how anxiety makes these problems worse, and what we can do about it.

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Hello, everyone! Welcome to the escaping to-do list hell webinar. This is something that if you are in our 30-day challenge you might have seen what we’ve been discussing in the Facebook group because a lot of the time anxiety is caused by real problems and what I mean by that it is not always just existential crises about how horrible reality is. Sometimes a lot of our anxiety is caused by the fact that we just have a million things on our to-do list and there are things that we need to sort out and things that we need to sort out for our families and in our relationships and work. There are a million things on our to-do list, and it’s totally freaking us out.

It just seems like there is too much pressure and also that some kind of clever anxiety strategy isn’t going to help because we’ve got real problems. I don’t think that is the case. I think there are some great solutions out there that even though we are dealing with real issues, we can use to solve these problems. I’m not sure we can through that in today’s lesson. So, if I head back over to the slides. Now is a great time to switch off any distractions if you’ve got Skype running, your phone and all that kind of stuff. And really spend the next 45 minutes, however long this takes to invest in yourself and hopefully make things look a little bit easier, a little bit better.

So, just a quick intro for people who don’t know me, maybe you’re watching this webinar for the first time, you’re not in the Fay day challenge. I’m Chris, and I’m founder of the Mental Health Charity Anxiety Leeds and also the founder of Worfolk Anxiety which is the organisation doing this webinar. I say organisation; it’s three of us. I’m also the author of ‘Technical Anxiety: The Complete Guide to What is Anxiety and What To Do About It’ and ‘Do more, Worry Less: Small Steps to Reduce Your Anxiety’ which is coming out next month. I’m really excited about that. I should have had some of those handy to show you I guess, but I haven’t. Let’s crack on with the lesson.

So, I’ve been running the charity for four years, and I have written a few books. But my big thing is about evidence-based. A book like Technical Anxiety, we’ve got 211 references in there. Do More, Worry Less I think has got 291because I really want everyone in that to be very anxiety focused and evidence based. So, I just don’t want to give you some kind of personal experience from me. I want to point you to where the science really works. And if that is your kind of thing then you’re in the right place because that’s, the kind of thing that we do at Worfolk Anxiety. 

So, you should be here if you feel a lot of anxiety and you feel that’s caused by real things because you are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that you have to do.  What you want to be able to do is better manage these tasks or cope with the stress of having them or just generally reducing the anxiety that you feel and really get rid of some of those problems ideally. That’s what we are going to be covering today.  I’ve been there, you know.  Life is really hard. The world doesn’t stop just because you feel burnt out or just because everything is going wrong. One of the big problems is it’s not just that we put this pressure on ourselves, we have relationships and family, and there is a lot of external pressure which creates a pressure on us because people rely on us like we’re important people in our own little world, maybe not in the grand scheme of things. But in our own world, people like our family rely on us, and that creates a lot of pressure. You know, it is difficult balancing work, family and friends and being a good father, being a good husband or wife and mother, whatever situation you’re in. These things are tough, but luckily there are some solutions.

So, what we’re going to cover today is why anxiety is the root of these problems because it’s not just that we have these real problems because a lot of people do, right? And for some reason, we are more anxious than them. And so we are going to look at why anxiety is the root of these issues. And then we are going to look at some strategies for actually getting more done and being happier about it, which is important. Some things we can’t get rid of but if we can find a way to be more positive about and have less anxiety, then that would be brilliant. And at the end I will briefly say a bit about Worfolk Anxiety, and I have a free little gift for you as well, a workbook to go with this. So, stick around for that. 

So, I want you to start by picturing a lovely mountain valley as I’ve done, here. This is going to form, the basis of what we’re going to be looking at today. If you think about say a lake in a mountain what happens is that water comes in on the left side of the hill and it sits in this basin for a while, and then it moves out on the right. This is the same as your tasks. You’ve got some tasks that are coming in. When you tick them off, then they go out, and hopefully, there are not too many sitting there in the middle. So, we’re stood in the middle of the valley. That’s us, that little figure. Whenever more tasks come in the water level goes up a bit. When tasks go out the water level goes down. 

So, if too many tasks come in and not enough tasks go out then suddenly we’re underwater which is when we feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff, right. And at that point, well, we better be good swimmers, or we’re going to drown. So, there are three ways we can help reduce all this anxiety about the amount of stuff we have to do. And that is, we can reduce the water coming in. Have fewer tasks going to our to- do list. We can increase the water going out. Get more efficient and get rid of those tasks or we can get better at swimming which is basically learning to be happier and positive and be able to cope with the stress of having all these tasks on our to-do list.

So, we are going to look at strategies to deal with all three of these segments today in turn, and I think adding them all together will provide us small nuggets in each area which will add up some big results overall. Before we get to that, I want to look at a few common thinking distortions. These are very common with anxiety. It’s great to learn to spot these because the way that we tend to think about our problems can often be different to the way a muggle, someone without anxiety thinks about the problem. For example, we catastrophize, magnify danger out of proportion. We live by fixed rules such as, I shouldn’t do this! I must do this!  Even though that might not be the case.

And a lot of all or nothing thinking, for example, until it doesn’t go perfect then it’s a complete waste of time. Obviously, that is not true. Personalising – taking responsibility when anything bad happens. Unrealistic expectations are why we set that mega high standard for ourselves, and of course, we fail to hit that standard because nobody could hit that standard because it’s just unachievably high. Then we feel bad about not doing it. These are all really common with anxiety. You might have seen a lesson similar to this before if you have done cognitive behavioural therapy. Throughout this let’s keep an eye on these and let’s see if we can spot these because they will be quite revealing I think as to when anxiety is causing some of our problems. 

So, Step 1- Less water flowing in.  How do we end up with less problems than we have to deal with? Three steps to this I think are - The art of saying “no”, kerbing the volunteering and not sweating the small things.  The art of saying “no” is, do you do everything that people ask of you? And for many people with anxiety, the answer is yes. Maybe not everything, but in general we have people that say yes. If someone asks us to do something, then we feel we have to do it and have some kind of social responsibility to the relationship, right? And believe it or not, this is a form of social anxiety. And you might say, well, hang on, Chris, I don't have social anxiety. I am fine interacting and talking with people. This isn't really something that affects me.

But that is actually just totally anxiety the kind of shyness style even though it is way more than shyness of course but that kind of style of social anxiety. Actually, just being a yes person and you can't say no to anyone can be a form of social anxiety as well.

And what is at the root of this is that we are worried that people will stop liking us. So, we are worried if we say no to whatever unreasonable task they ask us to do, that if we say no they will stop being our friend and then we'll lose all our friends because we start saying no to our people, and then we end up alone living as a – living by ourselves with no friends at age 70 in a little house dying alone where nobody notices. Obviously, I'm taking that to the nth degree.

But the truth is it's just a conscious conversation we're having with ourselves is that once you start saying no your friends will leave you and it's catastrophizing, right? We jumped from saying, "No, I can't pick you up. No, I can't just do that little task for you" to "Oh, if I say no to that, my friends will leave me and I will die alone." And that's not going to happen. I don't think any of us really think that will happen. But, you know, our anxious brain, that is what our subconscious is thinking.

So, what could we do about it? Well, think about it like a cognitive behavioural therapy experiment where we challenge these beliefs and ask yourself what are actually the consequences of saying no because actually when we say yes and we take on these millions of tasks, we're making ourselves miserable. So, even if we did start saying no and our friends did leave us which they won't because that never happened ever, they're not really your friend if they do. Then are you going to be more miserable than you are now because anxiety does make us miserable, right? It's an issue.

And so, we also need to just practice saying no when people ask us to do stuff. We could ask ourselves if it's really something important, something that we care about. And if not, then, we just leave to say no. And if you need to make an excuse to do that, that's fine I think. Just, you know, saying I have other priorities and doing this would detract them which is the honest answer, right? We all have so much stuff to do. And when we say yes to one thing, it takes time away from something else that it is also important in our lives.

So, practising the art of saying no and learn to push back a bit when people try and throw things on to your to-do list.

Secondly, kerbing volunteering. This maybe one for you or it may not be something. But I know it is not always people asking me to do things. It's when something that needs doing, I find it very difficult not to stick my hand straight in the air and say, yeah, I'll do that, and I'll take responsibility and pile more things on my to-do list.

And there are two reasons why I think we tend to do such a thing. One is that doing stuff is a great distraction from anxiety. So, a lot of the time, a lot of people with anxiety will fill up their diaries as much as possible because anytime spent doing some kind of community group volunteering or whatever is time that you don't have to think about your anxiety.

And there is also a need for control I think. A lot of anxieties are driven by the unknown and being out of control. And so, if you volunteered to take something on and you get full control over it, that eases our anxious mind in the short term even though it makes us unhappy in the long term and I really have been there with this one.

A couple of years ago, I was running eight different community groups. You see a lot of different logos on the screen. Because I wanted to be involved in everything and I thought I had something really valuable to contribute, and I think that's kind of true. But of course the more stuff I joined, the more watered down my time for each one of them was because you've only got so many time.

So, I was running these eight groups, and that was on top of my relationships and work. You know, I was kind of scared to hand some of them off because other people would do them wrong.

And the problem of course, if you do this, is that you just end up burnt out and it might not be volunteering for organisations. You might find that even with your family and your friends and your kids, you are willing to delegate the task to your husband or your kids because you know they will do it wrong. And it's really just that feeling of, oh, I could give this to someone else. But they'll do it wrong, and I want this done correctly, you know.

Whoever is loading the dishwasher which people can do wrong if they don't do it your way to the bigger things in life like running a local community, people doing an important task or work. Whether it is big or small, there is I think a lot of fear around letting other people do it and doing it wrong.

So, what do we do at this? Well, yeah. The truth is other people will do it wrong because we anxiety sufferers set incredibly higher standards for ourselves or stands as the slides said there. Other people have lower standards because they are not constantly worrying.

But the truth is that's okay. The art of delegation is letting other people do it even though you know that they will do it to lower standard than you would. And it's hard, right? In fact, I've got another quote on the next slide.

The art of delegation is tolerating someone else doing the job even though you know they won't do it as well as you would. And that is the art of delegation. It literally is.

It's very easy to say this in business that if you give a task to someone else, there are not going to do it as well as you because the reason is that you are like a manager or whatever is because you are really good at doing that. And it's the same in our personal lives. I have the way that I want to stack the dishwasher. If I delegate that task to someone else, they're going to do it in a different way which I think is an inferior way. But if I insist in doing it all myself, I'm just going to be miserable with the amount of stuff that I have to do, and it's going to be pretty horrible.

So, it's kind of like practising letting other people do badly and not freaking out about it that helps us; again, removes some of those tasks by letting other people do it.

And, you know, you can also not do a task. That's an option. Like I've got some loads of plants on my balcony, and they need watering to stay alive which is fine. But if I am so busy to water them then like the worst case scenarios is that they're going to die. I'd have to replant them. That isn't great.

But if that's time that I have to take away from spending with my daughter just to water some plants, is that really important?

Which leads on to point three of reducing the intake which is don't smack the small stuff which is it's a bit of a cliché but – and this is cliché as well. But if you got diagnosed with terminal illness tomorrow, would the task you are working on seem as important as it is now? Of course, the answer is no.

And we find ourselves – I think this is on the common thinking distortions. This is catastrophizing, and this is living by fixed rules. If I don't water my plants, they die. That's not, but it feels like a catastrophe to me. But it's not. I need to find my daughter a high chair at the moment and I just –I have just been so busy. And the time that I have got, I want to spend with her doing fun things rather dragging her around through shops trying to find a high chair for her. And is it a disaster? Well, probably not. Maybe it doesn't happen quite as quick.

But, you know, so what? It's not the end of the world. What's important in life is the social interactions we have with other people. That's the key thing, right? Spending quality time with the people we love. And anything else just isn't as important as that.

And I like a clean kitchen. So, I love having a clean kitchen. And – yeah – I am kind of a little OCD about that. But my daughter she doesn't really like a clean kitchen, to be honest. And all the time I spend cleaning with her like taking her to shops is time I've spent cleaning my kitchen rather than spending quality time with her. And that's pretty rubbish, to be honest. I don't really think that's a good use of my time.

So, we need to focus on the important stuff. And, you know, the consequences a lot of the time with catastrophizing. But it's just not going to be the end of the world; the kitchen doesn't cleaned. I'll clean it tomorrow, or it can stay dirty. I don't water my plants. Some of them die. I have to replant. If I don't walk the dog then dog misses a walk but he gets walked tomorrow, or I don't answer that email, maybe at all. And maybe I don't even read the email and, you know, miss out on something important or I miss out on a special offer to save four pounds on my next book or whatever because I didn't read the email with the discount code in it. Who cares?

And it's not easy to say that right just to tell ourselves this isn't important. What's important is spending time with loved ones. And it's another thing that just takes practice. But if you practice it enough then you really have to just cope with that pain of not doing stuff and ignoring stuff and allowing stuff not to get done and saying that life does go on and that we're okay.

So, get more flowing out. That will hopefully reduce some of the tasks going in. How do we shove more tasks out the other end to keep that water level as low as possible? Three things again here, one, dealing with perfectionism, two, asking for help and, three, facing resistance.

So, what does that mean? Well, let's start with perfectionism. And this is especially true if you're quite big on the OCD side of things. It's that we often think that everything has to be perfect. But the reality is that something has to be just good enough. And this is something I catch myself doing all the time. If I am writing a speech or a book, I just want to keep going back to it and making improvements and, you know, just sucking up all the time there is.

And there is no clear cutter. But if you got like a week to prepare a presentation, how long do you spend in it? Do you spend an entire week? Do you allocate some time? Do you – if you are like me, you'll probably do it, and then you probably think about all these things you want to change, and you go back, and it just nibbles away your time.

And the same with I am having people around for dinner. You know, I can spend – I can spend days preparing, and I have done in the past, or I can face everything over to the last minute. And it's probably – we'll probably still have a great time, right?

But it's so easy to let that time suck everything in and not strike it off your to-do list until you are 100 percent happy. And I think this is a classic case of all-or-nothing thinking that we look to in those common thinking distortions.

Because if you've got a project, if you got whatever they are, maybe you are planning a party or cooking a dinner or whatever it is or preparing a presentation at work, it can suck up as much time as you want. And it's easy to think I need to make this perfect. But actually if you spend half the time on it, it's going to be – it's not just going to be half as good. It's going to be like 90 percent as good – right – because of the law of diminishing returns. We make great headway early on. And then to reach perfection slows down, slows down, slows down.

So, actually if we halve the time we are spending on things and strike it off our to-do list, we can end up with something 90 percent of good and we're going to end up with loads more time.

And this occurs with shopping loads. You know if you are trying to – Barry Schwartz talks about this in his book, The Paradox of Choice. If you are trying to buy a kettle, then, you could spend – you could spend months and weeks researching the perfect kettle. And at the end, you would genuinely hunt the best kettle on the market. But how miserable do we make ourselves doing a month of research on the perfect kettle? Or we could just buy or go with the first store, pick the kettle that looks the nicest and then just buy it and leave.

And we'll probably not going to end up with the best kettle. But we probably are going to end up with a kettle that boils water which is all we really wanted to do. And we're not going to have to go through the misery of doing all of that.

So, unless we are talking about like your grand purpose in life like this is a thing that you need to get perfect to achieve your dream, then, it's just give up the idea that it needs to be perfect and embrace the idea that it would be good enough. And since it's good enough, strike it off your to-do list. It is done.

Secondly, asking for help. And often anxiety sufferers are really bad at this because we think it's weak to ask for help. And we find it embarrassing to go to someone else and say, now, I need help with this. Because, you know, we talked earlier common thinking distortions about unreasonably high standards. And that's what's going on here, right? We think that we should be able to do everything and we don't accept that our anxiety as a limitation. We think we should still be able to blast through life doing everything ourselves and we should never have to ask people for help.

And when we ask someone for help, then, that breaks our illusion that we are perfect and can handle everything. And because our subconscious just doesn't want to admit that we are imperfect then it really doesn't want to ask for help because it's clear that we are imperfect once we ask.

I think it takes courage to ask for help. That's what it comes down to it. It's having that, you know, really – being able to get over that feeling of not wanting to ask and being embarrassed to ask is difficult. And maybe some of us worry that we are weak in a relationship if we are constantly relying on other people. But of course we are never going to be doing that, and people ask us for help all the time.

And what you actually find is when you share problems and tasks with other people, then, that actually strengthen relationships. It doesn't weaken them. It strengthens them. And that fear that if we ask someone to do everything on our life for us, then, you know, they can be overloaded and not like us. It's never going to happen because we have anxiety, right? We are only going to ask people for help when we really need it. And a lot of the times it might not even be our fault that this is going on.

So, like a couple of years ago, me and my friends always go on a holiday every year. And it's no one's task really to organise it like there is no assigned leader of the group. But I tend to do a lot of it because I constantly worry about this stuff.

And I am not personalising from the common thinking distortion, but it's everybody's issue. But I am taking it personally as my issue. And as long as you keep doing stuff then people will leave it to – for you to do because everyone's lazy, right? No one wants extra work.

So, if there is a group of people and they know that you are going to do it, then they are not going to take it on themselves. Whereas what you find is when you're asking for help or you say, look, it's everyone's responsibility. I am not taking this on myself because I am already totally stressed out in the amount of stuff I do. Then someone else generally picks the ball up. And if they don't, then, that's not your fault either. If you think so, again, you are personalising.

So, you know, the idea was a holiday someone else steps up and organises it, or we don't go on holiday, and we go next year. And they've learned their lesson. Now, I am not just going to be the dogsbody that does it every year. So, ask for help. It's difficult. But it will make your life easier.

Facing resistance. So, we can really measure our tasks on two metrics, right? One is the priority. We've got ten things in our to-do list. We can order them – most important first, second most important, third most important. But we can also order them in terms of resistance.

For example, let's say you've got a really – you've got a phone call to make, and you hate using the phone. So, that's really a high resistance task that you don't want to do. And actually, it's only number three on your to-do list. What should you tackle first thing in the morning?

While traditional logic suggests that what you should tackle is your priority number one because that's the most important thing to get done, right? But if you can roughly work out what you can do in a day, what you actually better doing is re-ordering them to put higher resistance task first.

So, if you got a phone call to make and you hate making phone calls, that should be number one first thing you do in the morning. Why is this? Because we only have so much motivation and self-control per day.

So, if we look at the amount of energy we have, it starts up high in the morning, and it just goes down all day. And we recover that when we get a night sleep. But the time where our motivation and self-control is high is first thing in the morning.

So, if you got something you really don't want to do and you want to force yourself to do it, the best time to do it is first thing in the morning because that is the time where you will actually be get it done. Whereas, if you leave it to say the afternoon, your motivation might be half of what you had in the morning. And so, what you will end up doing is you just wouldn't do it, right? I do that all the time. I just – I'd leave it to the afternoon. Then I can't face doing it.

And so, I've spent all day worrying about it and then I have to move it on to tomorrow's to-do list. Whereas, if we just do it first thing in the morning, we start the day with a win because we're getting that horrible thing out of the way and then we can relax a bit more for the rest of the day and do things that we don't hate doing quite as much.

So, if you got a horrible task on your to-do list, then it sucks. But the best way to get it out of the way, move it to first even if it is not your number one priority. If it's your number one resistant task, then, just get it out the way and get it done. And you will hate the first half an hour of your day but you will love the rest compared to just all day worrying about that horrible task that you don't want to do.

Okay. Finally, improving your swimming which is improving our mood, right? When we have loads of tasks on our to-do list because there is a load that has come in and we can't get them off fast enough, then, our mood suffers because we get stressed out about it. So, what can we do to improve our swimming, improve our mood? And the three things here I think setting realistic targets, scheduling me time and practising mindfulness.

So, let's start with realistic targets. Last year, I was hanging out with a good friend. And he was totally stressed out. And he said to me, yeah, for the really good day, I took 13 things off my to-do list. But I am still stressed because I've got 67 more there.

And my question is what's the point of having a to-do list that long. Because if you can get 13 things done in a day which is a good day, right? If you knock 13 things off your to-do list, I'd be really pleased with that. Then having a to-do list with 80 items on is only going to make you miserable and stressed about how much you've got to do. And you might think those tasks are on there because they need to get done. But they're not going to get done, are they?

If you can, you know, do 13 things in a day on a good day, then, anything after say – well, anything after 13, there is no point being on that list. It is not on there because you can do it because you're not going to do it. Its only purpose is to stress you out.

So, if you got so much stuff on your to-do list that you can't possibly do it all, then, you need to get rid of the stuff that is below that off point because it's serving no purpose on that list and you are only making yourself miserable.

So, whatever you do just strike it off and say, I am not going to sweat the small stuff. This just isn't getting done which is great if you are, you know, cleaning your kitchen. Just take it off your list. Watering the plants, take it off your list. Or you could have a B list of things that you are going to do when you have time. Just a separate list that you don't constantly look at when you are trying to get stuff done.

To be honest, what I think will happen is it will go in the B list and never get done. But if you can't just – if you can't find the strength to just cross it off your to-do list and admit to yourself that it's never getting done, put it on the B list and tell yourself that you're going to do it later. And it would be a lot easier to do, and you can just get rid of it.

Next, scheduling me time. Now a lot of the time we don't spend time relaxing and looking after ourselves. Why? Because we feel guilty when we have other things to do. And this is especially true if we've got other tasks to do for other people like our family and our kids. We feel we are not allowed to have that me time which sounds like a fixed rule to me, right? Not allowed to do things or I should keep working through my to-do list and not have any time off.

And it's a real shame that we do this to ourselves because self-care is not optional. And in fact doing so kind of makes us more productive in the long run because it recharges our batteries. We just run out of will power when we're doing hard tasks all day. And one of the best ways to recharge that other than sleep is just to have some relaxation and me time to then build that will power back up so that you can go about it again.

So, in the long run, it is not just the me time that is enjoyable rather than constantly working is that it actually makes us more productive.

But the problem is that we set these high standards for ourselves again –right – unrealistic standards to say that we should be working all the time and we should just be smashing through our to-do list all the time. And that taking relaxation time is selfish.

We have already discussed that it is not selfish because it makes us more productive but also of course again it goes back to we're making ourselves miserable by not doing this. And maybe we will do a few last things even though I don't think that's true if we take some relaxation done. But maybe we'll be happier as well, and that's a great trade-off, right?

In my book, Technical Anxiety, I talk about Steve Jobs. So, Steve Jobs, co-founded Apple Computers, built Pixar, came back and saved Apple Computers, made it the most valuable company in the world. You probably think he is so wow, he has built the most market-capitalized company in the world; he must have done nothing but work. But that's not true at all. In fact, Steve Jobs while he was building Apple Computers was a massive hippie. He spent his time living on – he spent one summer living on a fruit farm and being a fruitarian. And he went around the country chasing down really rare Bob Dylan records because he loved Bob Dylan.

And if you read his biography the Walter Isaac's one, he talks about all the fun stuff that he did. And this completely wasn't a man who spent every hour God sends working. And in fact what we see is an exact pattern here is that someone who is willing to do some self-care and take some time off actually produces amazing results in the long run.

So, scheduling in some me time. Don't just leave it up to when it will fit in. Put it on your to-do list that you will spend some time recharging your batteries and looking after yourself.

Finally, practising mindfulness. Because the misery comes from worrying about all the things we have to do, there is a cause of a bit of stress about constantly running around. But a lot of the time what we're doing is we are thinking about all the items still on our to-do list and we are thinking, oh, this is just overwhelming. I am so exhausted. And when we are doing that, we are not living in the present which is what mindfulness is all about, right? Bringing us back to the present and stopping us worrying about the future. Because when we're worrying about all the things in our to-do list, that's what we are doing, right? We're worrying about the future.

So, mindfulness is difficult. It takes practice. But what we need to be doing is identifying the worry. When our mind slips forward to thinking about all those things on our to-do list, we need to gently guide it back to the present. Congratulate ourselves for noticing that we have gone worrying and then bring it back to the thing that we are currently focusing on.

And as well as this; what we want to be doing is practicing identifying those common thinking areas that were earlier in the slides and in the handout as well. And, you know, ultimately, as I've said before, doing all these chores and items on our to-do list never is as important as your health and your well-being and spending quality time with the people you love. And it's never easy, mindfulness. It takes a lot of practice. But just constant relentlessly every time your mind goes, and you notice that you gently guide it back. Don't beat yourself up because you find yourself worrying. We're anxiety sufferers, and the human mind just worries anyway. But when you spot it, congratulate yourself and gently bring it back to that present, whatever that is, and away from worrying about all those things that still need to get done.

So, to summarise, three things that we can do to help bring that water level back down or keep our head above the water, one is reducing the number of tasks in. And what we need to do is we need to practice saying no and only do what is important. Getting more done, getting more of that water out the valley, we want to tackle the hard things first because why? We won't do them. We need to finish them when they're good enough and stop aiming for perfection. And we need to ask others for help and have the courage to be able to go to other people and say do your fair share and swimming better, dealing with the amount of stuff on our to-do list and not letting get us down is all about setting realistic expectations not having a million-item to-do list but things you can actually do. So, scheduling some me time to recharge your batteries and just relentlessly practice that mindfulness of whenever you find yourself worrying about the future just gently guiding yourself back.

And so, I think there are really key – three key themes which I guess the action point of your thinking, right? Tomorrow, show do I start implementing this? And one is learning to say no. So, allow other people to do their fair share. Stop personalising. Stop pulling all the tasks on to yourself. And just, you know, remember that whenever you say yes, there is still something you take important time away from something else.

Two is to schedule in some me time to recharge the batteries. Life is not all about doing jobs and giving yourself some time off will not only make you happier, but it will make yourself more productive. But it doesn't happen by accident. It doesn't happen by fitting in around your other tasks. It happens by scheduling in that me time and putting it as a thing in your to-do list and just having relaxing on there and free – and give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Stop catastrophizing. It doesn't have to be, you know, 100 percent. You can do 90 percent. And you will still be better than most people are doing and it will save you a tonne of time. And setting those impossibly high standards will only make us miserable. Whereas, when we drop our standards to a reasonable level, then, we are a lot happier. And just practising mindfulness to see the world doesn't fall apart when we don't do stuff.

So, just a quick word on Worfolk Anxiety, if you haven't heard of this, maybe you're just watching this webinar for the first time, then, we do loads of this kind of stuff about how to reduce anxiety and make yourself happier and just enjoy life more. And the best way to do is two things if you are watching this on YouTube then hit subscribe on our YouTube channel and you will get all the video updates that we're posting.

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Now there is a workbook to go along with this if you are thinking, wow, that's, you know, 45 minutes of loads of information packed in and I've already forgotten half of it which is something that anyone would do, then, grab a copy of the workbook. It contains all of the summaries, the common thinking distortions, gives you some actual points. So, I'll put you that in the show notes and make that available so that you can download it. And it doesn't really make sense without the webinar. So, what it really is a memory aid to help you remember all the stuff that we have discussed during this session and, hopefully, that will be quite useful to you.

So, that is the end of the presentation. I hope you've got some really useful stuff out of it and make sure you download a copy of the workbook. And if you have any questions then you can always drop me an email. It's just And if you are watching this, this in April, then, I hope you join us for a 30-day challenge; if not, join us on the Live Better Newsletter, that way you'll get loads of really interesting and useful stuff for your mental health. And I look forward to seeing you soon.