Baby Steps Out of a List Slump

Laurie in a straw hat looking up outside on a sunny day holding a mug of coffee that says Seattle on its side
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I really enjoyed my morning walk today. I’m looking up at some birds having fun and thinking about what it would be like to fly.

Sometimes Lists Can Add to a Slump

I can drive myself INSANE with internal to do lists. Because my brain loves to churn, there is no end to the mountain of productive things I can come up with that ‘could be, should be done‘.

Lately, I’ve been in a weird-ass slump of sorts. Things are overall fine and progressing, but I likewise feel stuck – as if a hypnotist paralyzed me for fun in a Vegas show and the post-hypnotic suggestion to GET NOTHING AT ALL DONE took permanent root firmly and aggressively in my brain. I watch in a kind of slomo horror as the piles in my dusty house of horrors grow higher, my list of show notes and segments for the next episode grows longer, and the necessary practice for voice work grows more and more overdue.

I wrote a bit about this and my therapist’s take on this behavior in my status report of 6/19/15

My Zen lassitude has been increasing ever since. Partly, I find this relaxing, but mostly, crazy making!

Here are some of the things I perceive I am ‘not doing’ and need to put on an agenda

  1. Get a dang show written and recorded
  2. Answer all emails and comments
  3. Finish sound checks with new mic for placement
  4. Work on animation homework for next class
  5. Do daily vocal exercises, including diaphragm strengthening
  6. Call the Dr. about medicine
  7. Take my friggin’ vitamins
  8. Make sure to apply the gel the dentist makes me use to my gums after brushing my teeth
  9. Do SOMETHING in the dusty house of horrors
  10. Remember to get in touch with the friends I said I would get in touch with
  11. Cut Tiger’s nails and brush him
  12. Exercise, dang it!
  13. Eat Intuitively again, pay attention!
  14. Write a blog post (at least THIS one can be crossed off)
  15. Look up recipes to cook for the next few days and make grocery list
  16. Go buy groceries
  17. Cook

Ok, now what’s weird, even though there ARE some out and out chores on the list, the vast majority of items are things I LIKE TO DO! But this is what I hear in my mindful, Zen brain.

  1. There are ALREADY 116 shows if anyone wants to listen. It’s fine to wait until you want to record something.
  2. There is NO NEED to answer within hours. You always get to it.
  3. No one is insisting you record something with this mic yet. You’re not even ready yet to demo. Plenty of time to get the placement right.
  4. You can do your homework tomorrow. Better to work on accents today.
  5. Missing a day or two of vocal exercises actually lets your chords rest and your diaphragm recover.
  6. You haven’t needed to refill the medicine for quite a while. The discussion can be put off until you get around to it.
  7. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a few days of vitamins
  8. Your teeth haven’t been killing you lately, and you HATE that gel. Wait until you need it more.
  9. You’ve survived the dusty house of horrors before, and you will again. No need to stress over it.
  10. Those friends could get in touch with you if it was so important.
  11. Tiger is sleeping mostly in this heat. He won’t notice a few days off.
  12. Too HOT to exercise, dang it!
  13. At least you’re NOTICING you’re not eating intuitively right now, that’s step 1.
  14. Hooray! Blog post is done.
  15. We have plenty of frozen leftovers, just use them.
  16. No need to go to the store yet – why buy food you aren’t going to use?
  17. Easier to reheat than start from scratch.

If you compare list one and list two, what’s your reaction? When I re-read them, I get kind of anxious, like these rationalizations and excuses are UNACCEPTABLE. However, part of me is quite proud of my newfound ability to ‘chill’. I’m mindfully practicing cutting myself slack, since my crazy compulsive brain likes to boss me around so much. It’s not REALLY in my nature to be a lazy bum, and I have to admit that part of this slack-cutting just doesn’t resonate with me. Is there another way?

Positive and Negative

I decided to do or not do all activities in my day today by asking myself one question.

Is doing this activity or avoiding this activity positive or negative for any of my life goals?

  1. Get a dang show written and recorded (To Force Myself to write and record a show today will not make a good show. Better to wait)
  2. Answer all emails and comments (Doing this will make me feel better about skipping the show recording today. I LIKE to answer BCs.)
  3. Finish sound checks with new mic for placement (This can wait. Better to give mic placement my full on attention. It’s important, but not a burning priority)
  4. Work on animation homework for next class (This can wait. I DO want to research and accent for this one. Better use of time today)
  5. Do daily vocal exercises, including diaphragm strengthening (This will make me happier if I do it. I’ve had a day off already, and I want to continue my progress as a voice actor)
  6. Call the Dr. about medicine (This is a get it out of the way chore. Why waste mental energy on it? Done)
  7. Take my friggin’ vitamins (These are needed for me to feel the most energy, so DO it.)
  8. Make sure to apply the gel the dentist makes me use to my gums after brushing my teeth (Don’t like this stuff, but if I neglect it, my teeth kill me. Do it)
  9. Do SOMETHING in the dusty house of horrors (Can wait. I’ve been keeping the dishes and laundry up. Good enough for now)
  10. Remember to get in touch with the friends you said you would get in touch with (Will go to a voice acting event tonight. It IS important to keep up with friends).
  11. Cut Tiger’s nails and brush him (Can wait until tomorrow, but he loves it, I love it. Tiger is part of my cuddly happiness and he needs to feel good in his coat)
  12. Exercise, dang it!(Got up early and took a walk just for fun. Was pressuring myself to record a show – but if I waited until all of my segments were written, then it would be too hot for comfort. Decided walking is better than not walking, and took precedence over show recording this time)
  13. Eat Intuitively again, pay attention! (Decided to apply the negative positive question to every bite today. So far, it’s working, and I feel much more Zen about my eating with this technique)
  14. Write a blog post (at least THIS one can be crossed off) YAY!
  15. Look up recipes to cook for the next few days and make grocery list (Have enough on my plate without cooking, so will wait a few days)
  16. Go buy groceries (not cooking, no need)
  17. Cook (I can still eat well by eating what I have that I’ve cooked prior)
Hot and arid path around the park

You can see it’s whoppin’ hot today. This was taken about 9:00 am.

How Do You Deal With Your Lists?

Now I know your internal lists don’t look like mine, but it IS interesting to listen in on what you tell yourself about the items on YOUR list. Are you anxious like me if you don’t think enough items are being crossed off RIGHT NOW? Are you Zen to the point of floundering? Do you have a good balance with moving ahead without beating yourself into submission? I’d love to hear your thoughts about lists and how you motivate yourself. I’m finding that the more I can tie my items to life goals and internal desire vs. the internal berating I usually give myself, the more I get accomplished in the long run. I also notice I am less bitchy and snappy and I feel better in my body and in my mind. But I won’t lie, it is a tough one to change my thinking. To actually say I’m choosing NOT to do a chore that occurred to me is very, very tough. I guess I’m more used to people pleasing even those bossy people in my head. It’s kind of strange AND liberating to be mindfully assertive with myself. Baby steps into a better future.


Roses in botanical garden vase in a kitchen garden window

Roses from Mark’s garden. I say Mark’s garden because I have black thumbs and so am banned from actually participating – not by him, but by me. Even my window basil struggles to survive. I need to remember to water things, and my mind gets too distracted.

Comments box:

12 thoughts on “Baby Steps Out of a List Slump

  1. Dawny

    i like your rationale =-)
    it’s great how you are ‘thinking’ and ‘prioritizing’ realizing that NOT EVERYTHING needs to be done/happen right now and it will be okay =-)

    proud of you, NOT easy for us with OCD tendencies

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      You are so correct! My compulsive brain is fighting back like mad. But I can see that making progress here will pay dividends, and will actually move my projects and dreams forward more quickly. Counter intuitive, but I think to stop triggering my ‘overwhelmed and want to hide response’ will in the long run keep my movement more consistently forward. 🙂

  2. dawny

    Hiya BC’s

    the weather here is super summer like, and the temps are on the rise….

    I went to the dr. yesterday on ye ole foot FINALLY, im a procastinator in areas such as this where I fear the rx will be to STOP using said body part…
    the Dr. I saw well.. I’ll just leave it there, however in her defense, I had edema kind of bad, so ‘said foot issue’ wasn’t easily defined, the x-ray will tell the REAL tale tho, so I’ll wait impatiently for that result, if it’s what ‘she’ said, then im not too worried, and it’s just like most all my other ailments, it will come and go and I will deal.. the rx: naproxen 2x daily for about 10 days then as needed and PT, not sure about either of those, but we will see how it goes, im not a ‘medicator’ nor am I a dr to do ‘stuff’ I can do myself aka PT..

    on a different note… im finding so much about myself, I just read this book and man, it sure MADE me think, and REALIZE and BE AWARE of my ‘addictive’ eating, and the ways I try to ‘avoid’ addictive eating by addictively drinking, chewing gum etc.. WOWSA! it’s like trading one compulsion for another!!?!? I want to get to the root, the bottom of this, and to do such, Ive got work to-do.. I am doing the work, but it’s not an over-night job, and im an impatient person.. *sigh*
    and I cannot ever be perfect is the consensus.. WHAT?? i can’t?!?!? seriously??? oh my, my whole out-look on life has just been ripped out from under me.. *derp*

    happy day friends….

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Oh you made me laugh! Not perfect, you? Horrors! I have to join you there my friend. But perfect isn’t possible and imperfections make us interesting. 🙂 I’m so sorry to hear about your foot troubles. It sucketh! I’m sending you positive healing vibes. I have a much more minor complaint, as I’ve written, I’ve been couch potatoing it for a week or so for various reasons. All I did yesterday was walk down to my park and back with good supportive shoes, didn’t run or do any of that, STILL came back with strained quad. Dang it! Shows ME that I need to take my maintenance exercise a bit more seriously. My body won’t snap back as well as it did in my younger days. More slowly and surely vs. fast and flashy and impatient. That word REALLY resonated with me. Impatient is much of my distress in life. Hmm, pondering that on. You may have given me an inspiring topic there! Hugs xoxoxoxoxox

      1. Dawny

        both of my feet were swollen, she noted that the injurred foot was a ‘2’ and the non injurred a ‘1’

        They did an x-ray I got the results today and there is NOTHING except a bunion.. *DOH* I know/knew that.. ha, have a matching one on the other foot.
        The diagnosis is tendinitis, the rx is Naproxen, which I like a good girl sent to be filled, and went to pick it up and couldnt there was an issue with my insurance I called them and got it all worked out, however I got to the store, and then home to make the taco’s dinner,and get things going for tomorrow my super long day, and it was too late to make it to the pharmacy by closing, now it’ll be Thursday or Friday… *sigh*

        Im elated there is nothing wrong, and at this point no talk of not using it, just ‘play it by how it feels’..
        the PT people called me today and left a message, I’ll at least schedule an appt and check it out

        I also emailed my dr. and she sent req’s to the lab for my panel Ive requested, I want to get the labs prior to the annual im VERY over-due for so we can discuss it then and I can get it all explained to me, I don’t need a ‘full girl exam’ until 12/2016 yahoooo
        the labs are a 12 hour fast.. what the.. *derp* looks like itll have to be a Saturday and may as well make it a Saturday sooner than later right? lol.. i might die… 12 hours no food/drink, and the lab doesnt open until 8a and I wake up at 4 at the latest ha… but I really want this information, soooooooooo

        1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

          Sending Hugs for the fasting blood test. This is the one I get every year as well. I take some nuts with me in my purse so I can eat as soon as they are done with the needle. Also, a BIG plus since I gave up the scale – I used to not like to drink enough water before these appointments as the scale would, of course, be up a few pounds. BUT being really well hydrated makes the blood draw go so much better. Good example of my crazy mind. So what if the number was 2 pounds higher since I knew it was water? But these things consumed my worry. What a joke on me. None of that matters in the long run. The info from the blood test DOES matter, so good on you for getting it done, even though the fasting is a pain! xoxoxoxoxo

  3. ♡eM

    This BC patiently awaits the completion of agenda item #1. 🙂

    I appreciate how you’ve written about this truckload of tasks from more than one driver’s seat, Laurie.

    Sometimes when I’m afflicted with list-o-mania (of the mind, mostly), I build in an escape hatch (permission to quit, ma’am!). That way, I can just…get…started, which is often what it takes to just…get…finished. Beginnings can be beautiful, when we allow them to be pressure free.

    But that escape hatch (the prearranged agreement with myself) allows me to stop if I realize that I really, really, really don’t want to do it in…this…moment. I gently remind myself that I really, really, really want to do it, just not…right…now. In just allowing myself to do or do not (me ♡ Yoda!), free, am I.


    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Also a Yoda fan eM! Do or not Do has really been coming into play. I find the letting go of perceived tasks, projects and responsibilities is a very big step for me. I appreciate your story about the escape hatch. I think my problem with fooling myself, is I KNOW I’m fooling myself, and so a start feels like a compulsion to finish, and my anxiety rises if I don’t. I’m likewise bothered by schedules not working out and by folks who are chronically late (yep I’m THAT woman). Learning to ‘chill’ is a beneficial and weird experience. It seems that the universe is HAPPY LATELY to provide many opportunities for this lesson. xoxoxoxoxoxo

  4. Stéfanie

    Arrgh. I had written this big and long response but hit the wrong button and lost it. Shoot!!!! Oh well, I am letting it go!

    Except to tell you that, believe it or not, responding to this post was on my to-do list lol

    Stéfanie 🙂 xx

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Argggh! I must admit I’m sorry to not read your take on this Mon Amie, as I know it is a subject near and dear to your heart! But I accept the letting go that seems to be epidemic around here also. ::;sigh::: Another day, another post. Thanks for stopping by! xoxoxoxoxo


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