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This week on the Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast:

The end of the year is here. Cue the joy, the laughter, the parties, and…the overwhelm. Because let’s get real. The end of the year can bring a lot of baggage – and getting it all done by the 31st (or sooner) can make us a bit crazy. 

Today, I’m teaching my go-to tool that I use whenever I’m overwhelmed and have roughly one million things to do in a week.

This easy to use tool helps to relieve that feeling of rushing to get everything done. This also helps to conserve your energy and decreases the chance of going through the post-hustle crash.

The best thing about it? It also helps you be super productive, without feeling like you’re running around and herding cats. 

Because the holidays are so much nicer when you feel like you got this.

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Andrea W. Hanson

Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. To you inspire you To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free. Listener discretion is advised

So this morning, I had about a million things on my mind. A million things that I had to get done in the next, I don't know, like six hours. But I decided to do something that I often do when I am this scattered, when I have this a million things to do, and I don't know where to start kind of mindset.
I decided to sit. And close my eyes. And just meditate for a little bit. And the way I do this is I sit at my desk. Really, my chair is actually very comfortable. And this morning, I set my timer for about 10 minutes. I wasn't gonna do anything aggressively long in my meditation this morning.
And I just relaxed. The first thing I do. Is focused on relaxing all of my muscles. So I do kind of a body scan from the top of my head to all the way down to my toes. And I feel my whole body relax. I love to. Feel my chair supporting my body as I relax into it. I don't know, it's just this fantastic feeling.
And all of that. Takes me about like a minute. And then I start watching my thoughts. Because the meditation isn't about the stopping. My thoughts. It's just about not attaching to them. Right when they, they go through our heads.
So I watched my thoughts about what I think I need to do or where I think I need to go or. What I don't want to forget all that kind of stuff.
And then I just let them go. And I'm doing really well. . I'm just sitting there. Letting things flow, feeling relaxed. And then I don't know why, but all of a sudden my eyes just opened. And I looked over and I saw my coffee sitting there on the desk. And I reached over and I took a sip of my coffee. And then I sat back in my chair and I closed my eyes.
And I went back to meditating.
And I had to laugh at myself like that happened about four minutes into my meditation. I was feeling relaxed. I was feeling great. I needed some coffee and then I got right back into it . Back into meditating. And that's just a look. Into a way of meditating that doesn't have to be so stringent.
But it works for me. It works. And I'm sure I am sure somebody else is going to be listening to this and thinking what the hell. That has nothing to do with meditation. You're not doing it right. Why are you telling people about this? Right. There's always going to be a different way to do it.
But this way, it works for me. I don't always have coffee breaks when I meditate. But when it happens, I roll with it. And when I came out of my meditation this morning, I had clarity. I knew. Where I was going to go. I knew what I needed to do, and that was my goal for the morning to know what to do next.
I'm giving you this little behind the scenes of the first few minutes of my morning, because we are coming up on the end of the year. And you may be in that. I have a million things to do mindset as well. There's a lot going on. Right. Business-wise there's a lot to wrap up by the end of the year. There's a lot to report.
And that's not even mentioning what's going on personally. Right because the end of the year, I think there's like 20 plus different holidays that are celebrated just in December. And I would say a lot of them are holidays that have something to do with family or with gift-giving or with food or travel. All of those things.
And that takes extra time and energy and strategy, depending on what you're doing. And it can leave us feeling frazzled.
It can make us feel frustrated if we can't figure something out, like what to cook or the best present to give or. How to plan something that doesn't end up just feeling like you're herding cats. There's all sorts of things that seem to culminate at the end of the year. In December. Now, that's not to say that it's not a fabulous time of year. We love December. We love the end of the year. We love the holidays. Blah, blah, blah. But the thing is they can take a toll. And so I wanted to talk about one of my favorite tools that I use. I use this tool year round, but I especially use it when I am in a state. Like I am today.
Which I think a lot of you might be in right now around the holidays, which is you have a thousand things to do in a really small amount of time. So, where do you start?
And if you do just pick one thing and start it half your brain is going to be on all the other things that you should be doing in stat. It can just add up to a lot of noise. In your head. And a lot of us. I can be in that spot right now. Now, if you've listened to me before, or you know me or you've worked with me.
You know that one of my favorite things to do is to take a business tool and apply it to my life. Like my personal life. I think it's just a smart thing to do. Businesses spend millions, if not billions of dollars on their strategies. On figuring out how to do things in a more structured way, in a better way, in a more efficient way, a cost saving way.
So why not take what they learn? And apply it to ourselves to make our lives better. Why not let them, figure things out. And then we can just use it to benefit us. Sounds like a great idea to me. So I actually do it all the time. So one of my favorite tools actually comes from a business book and it's called The One Thing by Gary Keller.
The bottom line idea is that the narrower, your focus is the better. Your results will be. So in other words, if you're focusing on a hundred moving parts, None of them will end up the way you want them to be. So in the business realm, the question is what is the one thing that you can do? That's going to undeniably move your business forward. What is a one thing you can do right now?
That's going to move you towards making money towards getting clients towards. Making your widgets or getting your product out. What does that one thing that you can do to be really productive? Now I love this book. I totally recommend it. So read it if you want to go a lot deeper into it, because it goes into a lot of different things.
I'm going to share one of the nuggets that I've taken from this book that I use the most in my life. So let's flip this around and let's look at it on the personal level.
What is the one thing that we can do? Right now. It doesn't have to be a long thing. Actually preferably it's something that doesn't take very long at all. Maybe like 20 minutes. What is the one thing to do right now that can move us forward. towards, our goal.
. That is the way to answer the question of, I have a thousand things, where do I start? What is the one thing you can do? To move you towards that goal. Now the question is what is that goal? The goal could be that you need to do something towards the holidays. You could need to do something to wrap up at work or do something to plan a trip.
You may need to do something that can free up time or energy or sanity. It can be any of these things. What is the one thing that you can do right now towards accomplishing that?
Now, knowing that one thing does. A few things. First it helps you focus. It stops your brain from wandering through the chaos of all the things that you could be doing right now. And it makes you focus on one. Second thing it does is it gives you a task. That's got teeth. Right. You've decided and not arbitrarily, like when you just pick something to start. So it stops your brain from wondering, is this the right thing? Should I be doing something else? I've got 50 other things that I could think about that I have to do.
The third thing that it does is because the task is doable in about 20 minutes. You can finish the whole thing. You close that loop. You move on. You're done. There's nothing to look back on. It's going to give you that feeling of accomplishment, even on small things. Finishing them gives us that boost.
So the big question here is how do you pick that one thing? Especially when there often can seem to be a lot of, one things that you have on your list. They're all going to get you towards your goal. And to be clear there isn't. A wrong answer. Per se. Especially if quite a few things are going to get you closer to your goal.
But you do want to pick something on purpose and not arbitrarily. That's why I was meditating this morning. So for me, when the answer isn't obvious. I need to quiet my head and really see what I need to do first. And I do this by literally quieting myself. And relaxing my body for a few minutes.
Now I'll have some of the usual thoughts that I just let go by without attaching to them. Like this is on my to-do list. This is what I don't want to forget. Things like this. But then after a while, and when I say a while, I mean like a few minutes, A different type of thought is going to come up.
And I'll call this my inspiration thought. It's either going to be the very clear idea of what I need to focus on first. It'll ping. Almost like I can feel it in my gut at the same time of like, yes, this is it. Or I'm going to have like this narrative of related ideas. That I know is going to become something like content for my business. So like my next newsletter or a podcast idea, or a social media post or something like this.
I'll have the overwhelming urge to write it down. Like my body will tell me, do not let this one go. This is what needs to get written down. That's how I know what the one thing is that I need to focus on for me. And once I finish that one thing. I'll either have a clearer picture of what the next thing is, or I go back and I get quiet again, and I see what's next.
But that's it. I don't make it any harder than it has to be. I trust the idea that comes and that's what I do.
Now you may be thinking, Andrea, you don't understand. You don't understand what my situation is. I can't really do this. It must be nice to only be able to focus on one thing. But I've got all of these other extenuating circumstances that are pulling my focus away. I actually used to say this all the time when somebody else was giving me like a new tool to try, I'd be like, you don't understand.
This may work for you, but it's not going to work for me. What really helped me. Was knowing that we all have different lives with different urgencies coming on. That's why it's so important to find what works for you in your unique situation.
All of these tools that you learn from me from books and podcasts and all sorts of things. It's like me handing you a puzzle piece. And it's up to you to see where you can fit it into your life. What I always suggest with this tool when you don't think you have time to focus is to start with the smallest thing first.
Or break something down into like a five minute task. And then go after that. But always focus and finish.
A lot of the time when we feel pulled away from something. Especially when it's something that only takes like five minutes. It's because we're not really focusing. Our mind is wandering and ready to latch onto something else. So the second that we have something else pop into our mind, the second that somebody else calls to us because they need us for something.
Our mind will go straight to that. And then boom, we're out of our focus time. Focusing is a muscle. That's going to get stronger and stronger, and eventually you're going to be able to do it for longer without getting pulled away.
So moving forward. You can decide to string together a couple of, , one things that you decide on. But make sure. To add in a rest period. Either through another meditation to figure out what's next or going and having a sit-down. Going on a walk, having a cup of coffee. It's totally up to you, but make sure you build in that rest time.
be cause, I'm not kidding. Like this is going to help you be a lot more productive. And it can be so easy to slip back into that hustle of doing it again and again and again, because you're getting so much done. You got to keep an eye on yourself to make sure you're still deliberately focusing and finishing.
Because one of the important things that the one thing does. Is it helps you conserve your energy. Because focusing and getting one thing done takes so much less energy than focusing on five things. While you're trying to get all of those down.
So allow yourself to conserve that energy because you don't want to fall into the cycle of doing task after task and then crashing. Because for some of us a crash is not just a a couple of hours. And the afternoon, right? For some of us, a crash is a day or two. And then you're not really doing anything. And then you got to wait for that next high, so you can go out and get a whole bunch of stuff done again.
Looking at it as just one thing. Helps you even out that rollercoaster of hustling and then crashing. Which is ultimately better, right? It's better for your health. It's better for your short-term and long-term health. It's better for your psyche. It's better for your morale. It's better for a lot of things.
And it's another thing that helps you get through December. Especially since again, there's 20 plus holidays happening right now. So chances are everybody listening to this is going to some kind of a family holiday event of some type. This December, that requires a lot.
So you really want to, even at that energy,
Because, when you're coming into the holiday, like you're sliding into home plate because you've been hustling or whatever's going on, you're going to have a lot less energy and willpower to deal with the curve balls that might be thrown either energetically or emotionally or who knows. Maybe literally.
Give your one thing, a try. I'm bet. You're going to get a lot more done. And you're going to have a lot more energy and peace of mind as well. I hope that you were having a great end of your year. And I hope this tool can help you be super productive and also help even things out and help make any of those holidays. Any of those year end events, whatever they may be just a little bit better. If you like the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five-star rating and review. Follow us on apple podcast, Amazon music or wherever you're listening right now. To see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode
visit Thank you for joining me And until next time take care

About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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