What to do when there's "too much to do."

I knew it was going to be hot the minute I walked out the door. I didn't need my weather app to tell me that. We (the dogs and I) walk about 30 minutes before the sun rises up over our hill that I call a mountain, and typically it's pretty cool. Today, though, not so much. I could feel the heat already rising as we walked down the road.


"Crap." I thought. There's this narrow window of time in the summer as a farmer. This small window to get all the work you possibly can done. Before the heat is just too much. Overstep it, even by 30 minutes, and it can torch your entire day. The sun is no joke, people. Really. The things is... with a puppy that also tends to overheat, we need to walk early. And it can't be short... she's a German short-hair. She's gotta run, that one. By the time we get back from our shenanigans, I'm hungry, which means making time for breakfast. I'm not one of those people who can skip. I need it. So, already, every morning, if I'm in the right mindset, I can see myself as "running late before I even started." Add onto that teaching 4 days a week in the morning because we no one wants to do hot yoga in the afternoon in the summer, and you can see my windows and days are very limited. I tell you all this, not to gain your sympathy, but to paint a picture.


I can easily come at my week from the lens above. I think many of you can, even if you aren't farmers. The lens of "too much to do, and not enough time to do any of it." In fact I'm pretty good at viewing things from this lens. Let I've had 34 years of practice. Habits are not easy to break. And yet. I do my best to catch myself. to choose a different way. Why? because I know, again, from experience, that viewing life from this lens gets me nowhere except more worried and anxious and concerned about time and people and having enough of whatever it is I need. It's a lens of destruction.


And so, this morning, on top of all the regular things... I have a standing yoga date. Every Sunday at 9am. No matter what. The good news about Zoom yoga is, now it's really no matter what. I've started planning my vacations around it so I have space and time to set my computer up (Bethany, if you're reading this, it's true!)


9am is right in the middle of the farming window. Some days, by 10:30 when I'm done, it's already too warm to work more. Or, I tell myself it's not, and again, hit that nasty sun window and am out for the day. Today, the list of things to do was long and I could feel myself inching toward the lens of destruction the closer I got to 9am. I had a moment where I said, "ah, I'll skip it this week." Thank goodness I heard myself say, that, because I snapped out of it, got my butt to the office and made it to yoga with 2 minutes to spare.


Why does yoga matter? Why would I cut into this precious window of time I have for my job and my livelihood? Because I know how I feel without it. And the funny thing is, you guys, I forgot pre-pandemic. Cause life wasn't super hard and things felt pretty good and I was doing yoga almost every day and just kind of coasting. And then the 2020 shit storm came and all of a sudden, without the yoga I was angrier, more scattered, less patient, more in my head (a whole nother shit storm!) and just not as, well... me.


Yes, not doing yoga can do all of that.


Moving my body, being intentional about being in my body and making shapes not to perfect alignment, but to notice the intricacies of right now, is practice for life. When I can notice all the little details on my yoga mat, I'm more likely to notice all the little details in life. I'm more likely to catch myself in a negative headspace, or really hear what I'm saying, or learn when I check out of certain situations and why. It's the best practice for life there is. Here's the beauty of it... I still got everything I needed to done. All the other stuff wasn't really important and can wait anyway. Practicing yoga is what got me TO yoga instead of staying out in the hot field trying to fill a void that wouldn't ever get full.


So, what's the point in all this? We're in a culture, a time of "too much to do." Yes, for a lot of us, even in the middle of a pandemic. It's easy to let ourselves fall into default and get overwhelmed and when we do that, we often give up all the things that are important to us, the things that make us whole. I'm literally scheduling my yoga into my calendar right now, because I too, fall into old habits, and it's just too easy to say, "another day."


"I'll go on that hike another time."

"I can't take the paddleboard out today, I've got too much to do."

"I'll get a glass of wine with my girlfriends later."

"I'd love to go, I just don't have time."

"I'll take the vacation next year."


How many of us have said some iteration of the above? There will ALWAYS be too much to do. pandemic or not. And we can choose to fall into the trap and try to fill the never ending chasm- OR- we can choose to prioritize what matters to us, no matter what, while getting the work done. Not because we "should" cause lord knows there's enough shoulding happening in the world right now- because we know it will serve us. Because we know how it will make us feel in the end.


Do yourself a favor- pick one thing you KNOW will change your mood this week- and prioritize it. Choose it. Be all in for it. See what happens.