How easy is it to draw up a list of to-dos and let it sit on the coffee table all day? Very easy. We all want to get things done at work and home and still carve out time to tend to our basic needs (and maybe find that elusive self-care routine). But we can’t always do that, can we?
We have workloads to manage, people to text back, loved ones to care for, inboxes to clean, webinars to watch… And then our friend anxiety so sweetly joins the party to make sure we don’t get too much done.
I’ve had many days when even the smallest of to-do lists makes my chest tight with overwhelm. And mustering up the energy and motivation to just pick something and act on it to begin easing that anxiety can be difficult.
But in a brilliant moment of procrastination, I developed a quick little tarot spread to help us all get over the hump of indecision in desperate times. Although I’m sure I’ll be using this one pretty frequently.
The Indecision Spread
As someone who struggles with focus and follow-through, I appreciate the simplicity of the three-card tarot spread.
In position one is the next step: a chance to use the cards to help you decide what task you should consider working on next. In two is why take it: an opportunity to explore why this next step is the right one to take now. And in three is how it feels: a moment of reflection on how this choice makes you feel and how you’ll move forward out of the reading and into the world.
This spread is meant to help you make a decision and get something done after consulting the cards, but ultimately, it will also help you:
- Get a handle on to-dos before overwhelm creeps in
- Ease feelings of getting stuck or wasting time
- Support the transition from one task to the next
- Set the mood for making progress on a chosen task
- Approach a task and an entire to-do list with positivity
Before You Begin
Because this tarot spread pulls you out of indecision and into action, you’ll need to prepare a short to-do list to map out your options before you start shuffling. And there’s an emphasis on “short” here.
Your to-do list should contain no more than around five tasks, which are those that you can see yourself starting on when the reading is complete. The more tasks you bring with you to this reading, the harder it will be to find help from the cards. Here’s what my to-do list looked like:
- Work on a copywriting and design project for a blogger
- Catch up on the new resources in an ADHD membership
- Do my taxes (I know, I still haven’t done them!)
- Get familiar with a manuscript for a proofreading project
- Make progress on a tarot self-study course
Now the real, full to-do list of your daily life will be larger, so you can create this tiny task list by doing a separate brain dump first. From there, circle the tasks that bring out strong feelings in your mind or body (excite you because they seem fun, make you the most anxious because they need to get done ASAP, etc.). But be mindful about how much time you spend on preparation—you don’t want to trap yourself in the list-writing stage and procrastinate on picking your final task. Set a timer for ten minutes if you have to.
When you’re finished with your little list, lay it next to you as you play with the cards. You’ll be looking at these tasks and relating their traits to the colors, numbers, images, symbols, and themes you see in the cards to determine which task they point to. You can also use this as your scratchpad for jotting down findings or whip out a favorite notebook to join you on the journey.
If you need a little help in interpreting the cards, feel free to read through my free Tarot Interpretation Cheat Sheet for list of questions to ask yourself when reading tarot and reference notes on common meanings for numbers, suits, and more. Refer to them for a refresher on what to look for or peek at them after your initial interpretations to supplement your notes and get the most out of your spread.
Card 1: The Next Step
Shuffle your cards and pick three off the top. Limit distractions by flipping one over at a time as you move through the spread.
Study the first card, soaking up all of the characteristics. Once you spend some time with it, circle back to your simplified to-do list. Using your analysis and intuition, begin to scribble down notes on the parallels you can see between the tarot card and your tasks. In doing this, you’re really looking to find one task that connects most with the card.
Card 1 is about moving out of indecision. We’re going to test out the idea of doing one task.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
- Which task comes to mind first from looking at this card?
- What parallels can I draw between the signs I see in the card and the tasks I have on my list?
- Which task do most of the card’s messages point to?
- Which task do I feel called to focus my energy on now?
You might also get some sneaky reminders for other to-dos through this card. The imagery in mine showed strawberries, a snack I’ve been eating lately after dinners, which made me realize I forgot to eat dinner and needed to get another meal in when I finished with the spread! After moving through this first exercise, you should be able to settle on one task that you want to examine further.
Card 2: Why Take It
Now we’re going to ease into action by applying meaning to this task, and as we do so, we’ll either finalize our choice or realize that we may need to swap it with a different one.
Flip over the second tarot card and look for signs that speak to your needs and wants and that might represent some of the possible outcomes of working on the chosen task.
Card 2 is about exploration and perspective. It encourages you to look more closely and assign the task a value. Go back to your observations from card one to view the parallels and see if card two supports your decision or suggests a better fit.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
- What reasons for working on this task now do I see in the card?
- What possible outcomes does this card suggest?
- What skills demonstrated in this card will the task help me grow?
- What positive feelings do I get from this card that the task might give me?
- What messages of encouragement is this card sharing with me?
Card 3: How It Feels
Making sure we’re in a good space in our mind and body to start something can help us make a bit more headway and feel good about how we do it. Sometimes the reason why we drag our feet through a task is because we’re not prepared to begin. And that’s not an excuse for avoiding mundane activities—it’s a simple truth. Even unexciting tasks can be assigned a fun factor when we apply value to it and set ourselves up for a smoother completion.
Card 3 is about awareness and moving into action. It asks you to be mindful about your situation and emotions and solidify the intentions you’re setting. Here, we’re exercising a little self-empathy as we reframe our expectations moving forward and consider our feelings on productivity as it relates to self-worth. We can pause here and think about how we can prevent tying them tightly together, how we can ease disappointment if we don’t meet our goals, and how we can embrace the ability to write new stories about our habits at any time.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
- How is this card matching my emotions and energy about this task?
- How does the decision to start this task make me feel?
- Are my mind and body in the right mood to begin?
- What does this card say about approaching the task mindfully?
- How can I release pressure and expectations?
- How can I be gentle with myself about indecison in the future?
Tackling Your Task
After all that introspection and note-taking, it’s time to get a move on. The third position in this spread is meant to help you approach your chosen task with a gentle energy and focus. It’s so easy to get ahead of ourselves and set unrealistic expectations for how much progress we can make on something or how many tasks we can complete in one day. I know I’m learning that even three sizable activities is often too much!
When you finish your indecision spread or make headway on your new to-do, reach out to tell me how it went! Keeping up the conversation around the challenges we all have with decision-making, multitasking, and time management will help us fight stigmas surrounding productivity, especially for those of us with behavioral or mental health conditions.
And remember: Your worth is not defined by your workload or the number of boxes you can check on a list. Want that helpful resource for reading your cards? Download the free Tarot Interpretation Cheat Sheet below.