Beating overwhelm isn’t easy.
Sometimes when I look at my to-do list, I want to go back to bed and hide under the covers. I want someone to take me away from the never-ending things that need doing. Or do them for me.
A fairy godmother would work. Is that too much to ask for?
In the last few years, life has become busier and busier. Honestly, I don’t even understand how it’s possible to get any busier, but it seems to happen. I blame it on my kids. I used to think when they were small and less independent they took up all my time, and while I didn’t want to rush them in growing up, I was looking forward to when they were more grown and needed me less.
Except now at 11 and 16 they seem to need me way more. In a different way. Before you think I’m complaining about these wonderful children, I’m not. Well, maybe a little. But I do cherish these times. I know they won’t last forever and I need to take advantage when I can.
Lucky for me I have a job that is flexible. Though that is often why I struggle to keep up. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have good boundaries when it comes to my kids.
Especially, because I want to DO IT ALL! I feel if I think hard enough then a solution will magically appear allowing me to be 3 places at once while working on my next book.
So far it hasn’t.
I know we all have our moments where we want to pull our hair out and think there’s no way to get it all done. While sometimes that’s true usually where there is a will there’s a way. It’s about prioritization and focus.
And learning how to say NO!
I find that saying NO is the hardest thing most of us do. Or don’t do.
But to take charge of your life, you have to learn to say no. You can’t let life overwhelm you to the point where you shut down and say screw it and pour a glass of wine (and no I’ve never done that – hahaha).
Then life owns you and you want to own your life.
The trick is combating overwhelm is to take one thing at a time. Not spend your time spinning in circles because you’re thinking about all 50 things you must get done. Ensuring you won’t get a damn thing done.
The one thing that’s become more apparent to me in the last couple years is there are many things that can make life crazy and unsettled besides work. I used to think people who said they were stressed out if their house wasn’t in order were nuts and borderline OCD but I completely understand now what they mean.
I think I can block out my messy house and unorganized life but in reality, I can’t. If only the cleaning fairies would come while I’m asleep. They must be partying with the fairy godmothers of to-do lists because I never see any of them.
I mention the messy house things because it’s visual. If you can see a mess and feel you don’t have time to clean it stresses you out.
When your to-do list reaches epic proportions, and you can see it start at you, taunting you, challenging you, it can often cause you to be paralyzed by fear and do nothing.
Which just makes it worse.
I’ve finally realized that to keep up on my busy life; I need to stop making it so busy. I’m the one who needs to take control and not take on too much.
What a novel concept.
Yes, there are a lot of things I need to do that can’t be avoided, but there are also things I can learn to say no to.
Some questions I ask myself if I’m waffling on a task on whether I should take it on or not.
1. Does it fit into my short term or long term goals?
2. Is doing it going to make me happy?
3. What’s going to happen if I don’t do it?
4. Does it impact others?
If the answers to 1 & 2 are a yes then my first inclinations to say no. Unless there’s going to be repercussions in the answers to 3 & 4. Not everything is all about me (though it should be, right).
Take the time to think through a decision and how it will fit into your life or disrupt it. Weigh the pros and cons and make your decision.
How do you keep yourself from taking on too much?