How many times during the week do you feel overwhelmed?

Do you spend more time worrying about the giant stack of things before you than actually doing the things?

Imagine how much lighter the day would feel by eliminating the unnecessary worry that accompanies tasks.

There is a feeling of ease that comes when we slow down and allow our minds to match the pace of our bodies.

We may get result from action, but it’s how we approach the action – how we feel in our being – that makes all the difference in the doing part of our day.

When we focus on the present moment, it’s easier to see what the next best step is. It becomes easier to experience first-hand, that putting one foot in front of the other, is an ideal approach to life.

Slowing down to get things done can feel counterintuitive. After all, the giant list rarely completes itself. But the added stress brought on from worrying, rushing or pushing to get multiple things done at once – while seemingly effective at first – doesn’t actually get us further ahead.

When we have too much on the go at one time, we are more apt to miss something that ends up creating more stress and struggle than necessary.

According to Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education, “Studies show that when our brain is constantly switching gears to bounce back and forth between tasks – especially when those tasks are complex and require our active attention – we become less efficient and more likely to make a mistake.”

A methodical, single-focused approach to daily doing is a much gentler and efficient way to accomplish more and actually feel good during the process.

None of us will likely arrive at the end of our journey and remember the accumulation of our to-dos and tasks over a lifetime. It’s more likely that we will reminisce about the quality of our doing – the feeling, the being and the living – that happened inside of our life journey.

When I find myself overwhelmed, or focused on too many things at one time, I know it’s my cue to slow down.

These are the 3 strategies that help me remember to take one step at a time and experience more being while I’m doing. If they resonate, give them a try.  

1) Plan Ahead    

Being organized is a helpful way to eliminate worry before it begins. I’m an advocate for having a weekly planning ritual to organize my days ahead of time. The idea is to pick a day each week that’s easy for you to stick to. I take out my planner every Sunday to map out the week.

Having a regular planning ritual is a great way to get all of the tasks and plans for the week out of your head and onto paper. Then your mind doesn’t need to loop around trying to remember what is next. You’ve taken care of that before the week even begins.

Planning your week ahead of time also helps you see where you may need to set boundaries around your time and where you have added time for rest and play.

Planning ahead helps you get clear on what you might want to add or take off the list before you even begin. Then when your week begins, you have the structure in place and instead of thinking about what is next, you have space to enjoy the task before you.

2) Mindset Reset 

Create a meaningful reminder to help you focus on the present moment. This strategy, like the one before, is all about planning ahead.

When we are enjoying a slower pace, it’s easier to feel present. But life gets busy and noise and distractions will come up throughout the day. Planning ahead for multiple mindset resets, is a smart and kind thing to do for your present self and your future self.

My reminder for presence, is the Japanese word Ima. This word has personal meaning to me and is easy for me to bring to mind, or say allowed when I start to feel overwhelmed or anxious throughout the day. Ima helps me come back home to myself and the moment and task before me.

Pick a word, mantra, or reminder that feels personal and will be easy to draw on to help you through high stress moments. Give yourself permission to have lots of mindset resets throughout the day.

Presence isn’t just a state of being. It’s a choice we make each moment of the day.

3) Allow Pleasure

If you aren’t experiencing joy in your life journey, now is the time to start. Allow yourself to find pleasure in whatever you are doing.

Pleasure isn’t just a feeling of elation or positive emotion. Pleasure is about allowing yourself to experience the moments you’re in, while you’re actually in them. Connect to your being, while you are doing, and notice how that feels.

Stand rooted in your body when you feel pulled away by worried thoughts. Let your breath, your deep intentional breath, help you experience the pleasure that comes from being present in your doing.

The days and weeks will come and go, so too will our tasks and to-dos.

How do you most want to feel in your daily doing?

What does presence feel like to you?


  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse;; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: