129. Does your ‘to-do list’ overwhelm you? Expectation overwhelm and how to handle it.

Expectation overwhelm is when you have a to-do list that is so long that it overwhelms you. This starts a defeating cycle of hustling, beating ourselves up for not doing ‘enough’, and not really feeling empowered to live a life of purpose. 


Feeling productive and the beliefs we have about how we spend our time

Coach women a lot on productivity and procrastination

They feel like they can’t get things done in the day

They want to be better at getting things done. 

And it is the same issue on both ends of the spectrum – they are about how we FEEL about how we spend our time.  Did we FEEL we were productive? did we FEEL they procrastinated?

Remember our FEELINGS come from our thoughts. So the story we tell ourselves about how we have used our time is going to matter. It will change our experience of how we use our time. 


What is expectation overwhelm?

Expectation overwhelm is when we have such a long ‘should do’ list that it constantly overwhelms us. We walk around thinking something is wrong with us that we can’t tackle. We think we need more willpower and discipline. 

We also get frustrated with everyone around us and might even blame them (check out the mom martyr episode


Some signs that you might have expectation overwhelm:

  • you find it hard to relax for a minute in your day
  • you feel like everything is rushed
  • you feel overwhelmed even though you generally get things done
  • you check things off your list but still feel like it’s never enough


What do we do with the overwhelm we feel?

In my experience in coaching, and personal experience. WE do one of two things. We try harder or we tune it out. Both of these make us feel even worse about our skills and discipline. Both of these move us further away from the simple and purposeful life we are craving. 


The options should be optional

We make a mental ‘should’ do list with all the expectations we have ourselves in a day. But we tell ourselves this list is mandatory and then we tell ourselves we are inadequate for not fulfilling them all


We are meant to make choices

This is something that minimalism has taught me. I don’t have ROOM for all these things. I also don’t have time and energy for all these things. I need to choose. 

But making choices can be very intimidating for a lot of us. We think it means a long-term commitment. We also still secretly hold out for that secret we need to unlock our ability to do ALL THE THINGS!


Trade-in productivity for purpose

I think most of us want to feel productive, but we live in a society that tells us we need to do DO IT ALL AND LOOK GOOD DOING IT. 

I would argue that most of us do not want to be productivity robots – but that we actually want to slow down and live the life that we crave. We want to let go of never feeling like we are enough, and make more time and energy for the things that fill us up. 


Know what you want in your life


Get life coaching 

If you want coaching support with letting go of expectations and getting focussed on what you DO want to make time and energy for, then sign up for a consult call to see if you are interested. 


Products recommended here may include referral links to Amazon. If you click through and buy something I may earn a commission. 


I will tell you it is about kiddie pools and water blasters, but it is about more than that. It is about tradition and having fun, and being a kid with your kids. 

This is the XL doggie pool that we use as a kiddie pool


And these are the type of water blasters that we are loving in our home.

Here is the grad shirt idea. 



Make sure to join the Simple on Purpose Facebook community group to share your thoughts, questions, and ideas with the Simple Squad there. 




Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and life coach. Welcome to the weekly simple purpose Podcast, where I aim to keep all episodes under 20 minutes so that you as a Mongo can listen to them and just get refreshed in how you want to approach your days, your weeks, your months your life, from a way that makes it more simple. Remove the distractions, and more purposeful doing the things you always say he wanted to do. So we recently went to a family reunion with my side of the family, just a couple hours away, and we played music, we had dance parties, we swam in the beach in the pool. It was so fun, and it has become something that we’ve done every year for about 10 years. And I think it’s such an important tradition to have in our lives because it creates a routine where we are constantly gathering. A couple of years ago, I made a big trivia game for everybody. And we split up into teams. And I even asked family trivia, so questions about the family. And it was so much fun that every year they bring it up, whoever’s around the family reunion brings it up, did you make another game and I hadn’t since because it takes so much time in preparation, but I’m going to start now. I’m going to get a Google Doc, I’m going to start making a running list.

So that next

year, I will be ready. So today I want to talk to you guys about expectations, doing all the things. And I get a lot of women come to me for coaching on productivity and procrastination. They feel like they can’t get things done in the day, they want to get better at getting things done in their day. And it really is the same issue on both sides of that spectrum from procrastination to productivity. The issue is how we feel about how we spend our time. Did we feel productive? Did we feel we procrastinated. It’s really always less about what we’re doing and more about how we feel about what we’re doing. And remember, those feelings come from our thoughts, right? So I can do all of the things in the day and I can still feel lazy, I can still feel unproductive. When I tell myself It wasn’t enough, when I tell myself, it should have been more. Or I can really spend a day doing nothing, at least not anything that is on the productivity list. And I can still tell myself, it was a great day, I can tell myself I needed rest. I enjoyed that time. It isn’t necessarily what you were doing. It is what you think and feel about it. So that’s always one issue that we dig into the Thought and Feeling approach of how we spend our time, and how you can change your experience of how you spend your time your life. When you pay attention to the story you tell yourself about it. But here’s the other layer to the problem. The other issue that needs our attention is the fuel we give to the story that we’re not ever doing enough. Because we feel it with a great big to do list. Or should I say the should do list, which is a running list of expectations that we put on ourselves. And you might feel like you have this list too, you might find that you have

a should do

list a really big list of expectations. If you find it hard to relax for a minute in your day. If you feel like everything is rushed. If you feel overwhelmed, even though you generally get things done, if you check things off your list, but you still feel like it’s never enough. And a lot of us have this list about all the things we need to be doing. Here’s how I used to live with this list in my head. Okay, I’m going to do the dishes. Now I’m going to put some laundry through Oh, I passed this closet, I should remember I need to declutter that closet. Oh, and I still haven’t touched up the paint where the kids have peeled it off behind the couch and all the kids are going to be home, I should chop some veggies so they have something to eat after school. And now I’m in the kitchen and the kitchens a mess and I should scrub these cupboards I should also declutter that cutlery drawer. And then I should have friends over for coffee more I should hang out with my friends more. I should also hang out with me more I’m not doing any of my hobbies. I’m not doing yoga lately, like I used to. I’m not exercising like you get it. It’s spirals is overwhelming. And here’s the next question. How do we handle this mental overwhelm? From what I see we often do one of two things, the first thing that we might do is try harder, exhaust yourself even more and then beat yourself up that you didn’t have enough energy or willpower to do enough. Or we get frozen by the overwhelm. We don’t know where to start. We don’t actually want to do the work. There’s just too much mental drama around it. So we turn to our phone to TV to online shopping, just anything to turn off that noisy brain. And then we get into this cycle. I want to lay it out for you. So the first thing, I have a list of expectations. The second thing I tell myself if I have enough willpower, motivation and energy, then I should be able to do all of this every day, seven days a week. So I do a couple of these things on the list. I mean, I got To get started, right. But instead of feeling proud, I feel overwhelmed by what else isn’t getting done, because I’m sure I added more things to the list along the way. And now I’m feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, I start to get chippy, with the people around me, they’re slowing me down. And then here I do one of two things, I try even harder, or I tune out, the results of trying harder is I’m more exhausted, I’m more disappointed, I feel further away from that simple life that I want to have. So I should just try harder tomorrow. And the result of tuning out is things don’t get done. Everything stays intimidating. I don’t take small steps, I tell myself, I don’t have enough willpower, motivation or energy. And so now that becomes the focus for me. And so many of the women I life coach find themselves in cycles like this. We think kind of secretly, maybe we’re lacking some skills, maybe we’re not being very good adults. Maybe there’s other people out there who have figured this out. And we maybe feel a little bit embarrassed that we’re not these more superior human beings who clean the lint traps every time and prep the veggies and weed the garden and read a book a week and exercise each day. And this is why so many of us are on Google and Pinterest. We’re looking for time hacks, motivation hacks, I was the same way. I went to the end of Pinterest looking for these answers, because I was sure if I could just trick myself into doing more than I could find the answer. Because surely the answer wasn’t going back to step one where I set out my list of expectations.

Surely the

answer wasn’t in the steps following where I talked myself through it. And the story I tell myself about it. When I had this really long list of expectations and small kids at home, logistically, like let’s just think about logistically, each of these tasks we want to get done, will they logistically fit into the hours of our day, it’s like looking at your closet and looking at the 30 shirts in your drawer that blouses hanging up the tank tops and saying, logistically speaking, how long would it take me if I wore every single one of these items of clothes for everyday and it was a new item? How long would it take for me to wear everything I actually own. So instead of looking at it from a different point of view of the expectations, and the story, I told myself about it, all I saw was my own lack, and my inability to deal with life. And so I blamed others for my inability to tackle this list. And maybe you’ve heard a bit about that in the mom martyr episode. That’s Episode 67. So over the years, I’ve come to own the truth that I made this list. I created this culture for myself. And now I asked myself the question, what should I do about this list that I’ve made? How do I give some of it up? I like to think about it like this, if I get a new phone, someone hands me, here’s your new phone. And there’s 172 apps on the phone. Do I expect myself to keep them to use them all know, their options. And not all of them are relevant or useful to me right now. So I choose, I’m going to go through this list of apps and I’m going to delete apps. Maybe I’ll use them for a bit and try them and delete them. Maybe I’ll delete them forever. Maybe I’ll delete them. And I can download them later I get to choose it’s my phone. It’s the same with your life, it’s your life, you get to choose which options you keep. And this is what our list should be all of the options, all of the things we could do, and not the things we should do. We need to let options be optional. We cannot make them mandatory, and then tell ourselves we’re inadequate for not fulfilling this list. Here’s the other part. If options are optional, that means we get to make choices, we get to make choices. But when I tell this to the women I coach, what they hear is you have to make choices. And that’s intimidating. And they asked me will you make a choice for me? Because we have a bit of fear here. What if we choose wrong? How do we know what to choose? And some of us are actually living with the secret pride that if I can just figure out a way to do it all I will never have to choose. It might sound like an empowering idea. But it actually becomes a hurdle into living purposefully. Because we are supposed to make choices. This is what minimalism has taught me, I have to choose what stays, I can’t keep all of these things. I need to ask what’s valuable to me. What’s useful to me right now, at this season in my life. What should I be keeping in my basement? in my closet? What do I need in my kitchen that we’re that’s going to help me with three kids at home? What should I keep in my schedule? How do I want to spend my days and I’m constantly asking women to write out the vision for the nine areas of their lives. And I’ll also link the free worksheets I have on that in the show notes. It’s also in the life on purpose workbook. If that is something you have, and I know there’s a bit of intimidation with writing out what you want in your life. Because we think we need to be committed for life. But the key here is we want to just practice being intentional for this season, for this year, maybe you want to start with this next hour of your life, or just today or just tomorrow. What do you want to make time for? What are your priorities right now, you do not have to wait until your to do list is all checked off, before you start making space and time for the life that you actually want the life you crave. So we do need to start prioritizing what we want more of right now. And we need to look at that list of expectations. And not look at it as all of the things we should be doing. But now it’s a menu of options we get to choose from. And if you have a faith stance, I really believe that God designed this beautiful world where we aren’t meant to do all of the things we’re meant to make choices, and then show up well for what we have chosen. I really want to encourage you guys to make room for what is the best in your life. But we need to choose, we need to look at our options. And we need to choose just a couple, just a couple of things we’re going to make time and space for. I’m really feeling this in my business right now. So I have the kids home for the summer. My husband works a week on a week off. So I know for a week, two weeks out of every month, I’m all in and I decided to myself, I’m just going to work when my husband’s home, I’m not going to try and figure out daycare and childcare, all that stuff. So I’m going to work for one and a half days each week,

which means I’m doing the bare minimum for these two months. And I don’t mean bare minimum, like I’m not enough, and it’s not my best work. No, I’ve chosen the tasks that I want to give my time and energy for. I only have a certain amount of time. And if I look at my list of all the things that business owner should do online, it’s huge, right? But I need to zone in and think about what am I going to be doing what is worth my time and energy right now, if I can only work one and a half days per week on my business, what gets my attention, and I need to just be all in on that. And if we’re really thinking about it, we probably don’t want to be productivity machines like we, we have a culture that tells us we should we should do all of these things all the time and look good doing it. But what we probably crave underneath all that is slowing down is connecting and creating an arresting and enjoying and taking our time, we might think that our value is in how many tasks we can do every day, but we’re wrong. Because Who is that woman hustling to check off all the boxes, versus Who is that woman deep inside you asking for you to slow down for a moment to let her have some fun to let her live this life that she’s worked so hard to get. If this is something that you want help on, you want help knowing where to put your time your energy, so that you can feel more productive for the things you choose to spend your time on. then feel free to book in a console call with me learn about life coaching, and see if that’s something you’re interested in. Let’s wrap up with a simple pleasure. I know I haven’t done these in a little bit because I’ve been sharing some interview episodes. But here’s the simple pleasure I want to share and hang in with me. It’s a giant kiddie pool and water blasters. So we normally have a end of year end of school year tradition in our house. We have root beer floats. And I also take a picture of them in the backyard wearing their graduates. So I saw a friend do this years ago online, where she bought like grad year 2030 whatever your her kid would predictably be graduating high school. And every year she takes a picture of her kids in this graduate. So they’re big on the kids right now. But I’ve already got, you know, like four or five years of these pictures with the kids wearing them. So those are our traditions. And this year I bought a kiddie pool we usually have some kind of pool in the backyard. This is actually a dog pool I bought. It’s an extra large dog pool. So it has these foldable panels. And this really tough material and you just open it up and you fill it up. And it’s really really durable. This is why I wanted I wanted something durable with like a sturdy plug because we always lose the plug. And we just have a pool in the backyard because like all ages of kids are playing in it. My 10 year old can actually like lay starfish in it. It’s so big. I sit in it with them sometimes. So this year, I wanted to bring it a little bit of adventure. And I’ve know a lot of parents do this on their kids last day of school where they have a water fight with their kids. So I bought these fillable water blasters they’re like a section and then you push them in the like shoot out the water. They’re so fun. I’ll make sure to link them in the show notes and I’ll link the doggy pool that we have. So I hid them in the yard in the morning and we told the kids you have 15 seconds to go find those. Fill it up in the kiddie pool. We’ll meet you out there. And we had an epic water fight. Of course, some people took it too far. Took it too seriously. But it was so hilarious. So that is my simple pleasure. The backyard water fight because, like on the surface, it’s about water guns in a giant kiddie pool. But really the simple pleasure there is just having fun. Having fun with your kids and being a kid with your kids, which they are still talking about and are probably going to ask us to do every single year. I’m hoping that’s what traditions are about, right guys. If you have a simple pleasure or an end of the year tradition you’d like to share, come on over to the simple on purpose Facebook group, that is your place to share what your thoughts are on these episodes, to share your questions and to share any simple on purpose tips that you have for our community there. I’d love to see you there. Follow the link in the show notes to join that. Alright guys have a great week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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