It's that time of year when everyone is hustling and bustling around.
My students are exhausted and just trying to make it through the end of the semester. The holidays still seem far enough away, but wait - we're already several days into the last month of the year. The finish line to the end of the year is in sight, but it feels so far away. We're all in that kind of in-between stage of adding things to the to-do list when there is already plenty on it to complete. What do you do when you can see the finish line, but it still feels far away?
Remember what the finish line actually represents.
Is the finish line the end of the semester to you? The end of the year? What is the line and how do you want to feel when you cross that line? Sure, time will march on and that date will come no matter what you do. But do you want to crawl across the finish line or feel strong at the end? I can't help the running analogies - I've been back in my running groove lately. After having a rough finish at a race this fall, my new goal is always to feel strong at the end, even if it means not making a new personal record time. What's your goal? What do you envision for that date or time that is in sight?
Make a list of everything in between you and that finish line.
I know not everyone is a list maker. But often, my students and clients come into my office, talking about how much they have to get done before the end of the week or the semester. They have so much going on and so much to do. So I ask them to list it out on paper. And more often than not, the list isn't as long as they had imagined it in their heads. Mental to do lists are dangerous for us to carry around. Get it all down on paper or in an app so you can actually see it.
Even when the list is long, are there things on the list that are "wishes" versus "must complete?" I'm guilty of making lists that are never accomplishable within 24 hours from time to time. I gently remind myself, "Well, most of these tasks were wishes to complete, not set in stone." Remove the wishes from the list and focus on what must get done when the finish line is in sight. Everything else is a bonus.
Take time to stay in the present moment.
Mindfulness meditation has become even more important for me this year. When I start to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of end-of-year activities, I stop. Remind myself to take a deep breath. Marvel in the fact that I have this chance, this present moment. Think about how I have survived many of these types of chaotic times and I will go through more in the future. This is just one. I can be present and be in the moment during these times, even when the finish line is so close.
Build in downtime after the finish line.
Sometimes when we're getting ready to cross the finish line, we move the line. We say, "Oh okay this is the end of the semester, but now I'm working on the end of the year." Wait, what? Why move the finish line on yourself? Enjoy getting ready to cross it and build in some downtime surrounding the finish line. I really believe in the importance of taking a true day of rest. So before making the next finish line for yourself, enjoy that you have crossed one.