Maybe it’s a relatively minor task like driving a bit out of your way to drop off donations at Good Will, fixing the faulty alarm clock, or hanging a large portrait on the wall. Perhaps it’s a little more time consuming like repainting the front door or hiring a contractor to fix the uneven porch steps.
Each morning you walk past the painting sitting on the hall floor and each afternoon you trip up the uneven porch stairs after work. As you grumble and feel your frustration flair, you proclaim “I’m definitely going to take care of this tomorrow!” Then, you get caught up in the rest of your day and forget about it until you stumble on the stairs again tomorrow.
While it’s certainly not a tragedy to let these trivial tasks linger on another week, what we don’t realize is how much mental energy they take away from us day after day. Think about it like your computer’s CPU. When there are several programs open and running, the performance of your computer slows down.
Our brains are like our laptops in this way – there is only so much “RAM” to go around. Keeping unnecessary programs running in the background creates “noise” that interferes with our ability to be fully present in the moment.
In addition, the brief negative mood that is aroused by tripping up the step raises our blood pressure each time it happens. While perhaps only for a moment, the continual adverse impact of elevating our cortisol levels and strengthening the neural networks in our brain that support negative thoughts truly add up over time.
So, what task is on your list that is creating mental clutter and slowing you down? JUST DO IT ALREADY.
Get up a little early tomorrow and hang the painting. Pop in your favorite Podcast and drive the extra 20 minutes to drop off the bag of clothes at Good Will that have been taking up residence in your car trunk. Buy a new alarm clock and be done with it. Whatever it is, just do it already and get it off of your mind.
Can you taste the freedom?