Do you ever find yourself with Leftover Living, bogged down in the old and outdated, cleaning up what’s been overlooked or neglected, instead of looking forward to and engaged in a future that promising and exciting?

A lot of people get confused, I think, with feeling overwhelmed by what they see as things that need to be taken care of. But upon a closer look, it’s often not things that are occurring today, or will occur in the future, but rather things that have been left undone, incomplete, unfinished from the past. It’s the leftovers from last year’s kitchen painting project, taxes that didn’t get filed, clutter in the garage, dishes in the sink from last night’s dinner, a graduation gift still not sent.

Those aren’t tasks that “need” to be done, those are tasks that didn’t get done. Big difference –your overwhelm is about Leftover Living.

Leftovers come in all shapes and sizes. What does your brand of Leftover Living look like? A big pile of magazines you ordered, but never have time to read? Book shelves you bought but never put up? Still paying interest on purchases you’ve long since forgotten? A conversation you play over and over in your head?

It’s no wonder that you feel like you get up every morning wearing concrete shoes!

Not only do you have to deal with whatever the day brings, but you are carrying a backpack full of yesterday’s leftovers. And every day that you allow more and more to accumulate, it gets heavier and heavier. And the worse part is (there’s a worse part?) if you’re living on leftovers — “the past” — it is controlling your actions right now, today.

You will be in overwhelm, unable to enjoy today, unable to make choices and take action on new and exciting things because you’re too busy running around catching up, taking care of things that you didn’t finish yesterday, last week, last month, last year.

So what’s the solution?

Stop Leaving Leftovers

You’ve heard the old saying, “what you feed grows”. The only way to keep from adding to your daily leftovers is to make this commitment: “Today, I will finish whatever I start.” I caution you to keep this idea in a focused and simple way, and it will serve you much better. What common everyday tasks do you find yourself starting, not finishing, and then being “forced” to finish later when you’re rushed or tired? Filing the days papers, handling the mail, dinner dishes in the sink, laundry left wrinkling in the dryer? Start with a simple everyday task like this and work to teach yourself how to complete things. Once you get the concept in hand, add additional tasks, as well as larger projects with more steps.

Clean up the Leftovers.

With the incorporation of your new daily habits, you are no longer adding to the leftovers. But leftovers will still remain from past projects that need to be cleaned up before you can begin to fully live in the present. Use the examples above, but carefully consider things from your own life. What’s leftover in your life? Unresolved financial matters? Unresolved relationships? Unresolved decisions? And of course the unresolved projects or tasks that you never got around to. You can usually identify these things by how they make you feel when you see them or think about them — sad, mad, guilty, embarrassed.

If you feel that emotion, stop to check what Life Leftover is causing it. Then set aside time each day to clean them up. Don’t expect to do it all at once, be patient, but persistent. Use your time consciously and wisely. Even sitting in front of the TV in the evening can be used to go through some boxes, or sort paperwork. Or if you’re getting several magazines that you never have time to read, write down the phone numbers or go online to stop the subscription and ask for a refund.

Living with leftovers is draining and demeaning. Take action on your goals every day. The key is to stay current, so you can look to the future with optimism and hope, instead of scowling at the past dragging you down.

Your energy will double, and your outlook will flourish.
About the Author

Kathy Gates is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach in Scottsdale Arizona who specializes in focus and motivation. She will coach you via email or telephone, your choice. Take a look at Real Life Coach (http:// www. for more information.

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