You’ve read me say it several times in these anxiety posts: you must schedule all these tactics.
This stems from one of the most effective tactics I’ve ever used on my anxiety: using my calendar.
I could write an entire course on this (and I probably will), but I’ll go over some of the key concepts here, so you can put this to work for yourself as soon as possible.
Your brain’s active memory can handle about 4 items. That’s all. We weren’t build for all the information flooding our heads. I don’t see the anxiety epidemic as an unexplained malady of this generation. It’s perfectly understandable. We are simple creatures trying to juggle unreasonable complexities.
- Have a trusted capture system. Have an inbox where everything task or piece of relevant information goes, so it can be sorted later. Never trust your brain for this. This place can be physical or digital, but it has to be always-available, trusted to never fail, and reviewed regularly.
- Review regularly. This means deleting liberally, clarifying next actions, assigning contexts, and determining what will deliver the greatest returns in your life, family, and career. Say no to everything you possibly can.
- Anything that’s just a reminder, save to your Reminders app (or your reminder app of choice).
- Put whatever survives the above on your calendar, batching as many tasks as possible by context. Can’t fit it all? You’ve just identified a life problem, not a calendar problem. Time is the least common denominator in all our lives. You can’t reason with it. You have it or you don’t. Sometimes it moves when higher priorities arise. Fine, then shift things. Sometimes you don’t have the agency to control all of your time. Again, this is not a calendar problem. Your calendar is just reflecting the truth of your agency – fix that.
- Refine your calendar. It’s a reflection of your life. If you’re not having fun, or not getting something important done, it’s all about what you have or haven’t scheduled. You can change your life by making a few changes to your calendar.
Stop making time for anxiety and you’ll probably experience less anxiety.
More on scheduling: