It's taken me a really long time (like 2+ decades) to be able to see tasks for what they are - simply tasks.
According to Google's dictionary, used as noun we're talking about a piece of work to be done or undertaken. As a verb, a task might be something we assign a piece of work to.
Do you see anything about emotion or feeling in that definition? I don't, but it doesn't mean I haven't felt emotionally hijacked or sucked into a story in my head when reviewing my task list (aka to do's personal, professionally, socially, etc.).
Dr. Hanson discusses this and more in his most recent Just One Thing - Drop The Load blog post. He identifies 4 areas to consider when you examine your own relationship to tasks:
- Take on Fewer Tasks
- Put a Fence around Doing
- Shift Your Relationship to Tasks
- Recognize That Tasks Are “Empty”
For me personally, it wasn't until #4 landed that I was able to decouple the tight grasp of emotion from the clear reality of it all. This has allowed me to:
- Cut my to do list by 1/3 - for reals!
- Prioritize tasks based on legit urgency (not "must" urgency) and where they fit in the big picture.
- Pause and respond from a regulated state and not from a wild reactive place - ever sent an email that you kinda regretted?
You can read the blog in full here - https://www.rickhanson.net/drop-the-load/