Do you ever start your day, or reach a point in your day, when you just have so much stuff to do that you start to feel overwhelmed? Monday this week, I had a huge list of things I needed to get done, and there was a momentary point that I felt overwhelmed. Sometimes that happens to all of us. I want to share with you some of the things that helped me Monday, and every day when I have a huge amount of things to do, to hopefully help you feel less overwhelmed, and face your days with confidence in yourself and your ability to accomplish everything you need to do.
As I said, it was a momentary point in time. And then there was a quiet whispering in my mind from the spirit that said I could choose to be overwhelmed or I could choose to face the day optimistically. I am grateful for that little tiny reminder, because it set my day back on the right track. My attitude is my responsibility, and no one and nothing can influence it unless I allow it to. When we face the day optimistically, we face the day as a problem solver. When we get discouraged or feel overwhelmed, and don’t correct our thoughts and attitude, we start to spiral down hill, and that leads to more problems rather than solutions. But, just because we are optimistic about our day doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best day ever, it just means that we see the problems and we work on solutions, rather than stopping in our progress and not getting anything done.
After I adjusted my attitude, the next thing I did was to figure out what things were most important. Prioritizing big things in life is super important and you can read my other blog post on Priorities here. But each day also requires a little bit of prioritizing because there are some things more important than others in any given day. The things that were due the soonest became the top priority, followed by the things that were important to work on, but didn’t have fixed due dates, or the due dates were further out. That was followed by the stuff I probably had time to work on, but if I didn’t, could wait another day. But if I have time, I like to get as much stuff done at the beginning of the week so I don’t have so much to worry about toward the end of the week and I have more time to spend with my family. Also, breaking tasks down early on in the game will get the job done without that last minute cramming that often happens when we procrastinate, which I am pretty good at sometimes, but that’s an article for a different day.
Steps, or smaller goals is the next thing I do. Often we see what needs to be done, know what needs to be done first, we have our lists, but it might still feel overwhelming just beginning. But beginning is the first step. I like to break my tasks down into steps, and the simpler the steps are, the better. That way it’s not as overwhelming to start in the first place. Two examples from Monday. First, I had to pay bills. I set aside one day a month to pay everything, which to some may seem like a huge task, but for me it works as I don’t have to remember multiple days a month, which actually simplifies it for me. I break those bills down into several steps. First I pay the bills I need to write checks for. This is the most tedious part for me because it is the most time consuming (we have 2 businesses, and sometimes there are a lot of checks!), so I get it done first. Next is the online bills. These are much quicker than the checks. Last step is to make sure the money in each account is where it needs to be and there is enough for everything. This process takes me about an hour, depending on the month. Second example, I am in charge of a 5K race for our local Library Association. We have been raising money to build a new library (that is now under construction!) and this was a contribution that I could make to assist in that endeavor. This is our 6th annual race, and I have broken down the preparation into really small steps over several months, so everything gets done in order so we have shirts, forms, food, etc. Monday my step for the day was to bring up my signs for the roads, the registration table, etc., and check them out to make sure they are still in good condition. Also, to count my race bibs and make sure I have enough. It took 5 minutes. But with as busy as that day was, I didn’t have time for much more. Small steps.
The last thing, the hard part, doing. This one, for me, is much easier after I have done the things listed above, made my list, prioritize that list, and then broken it down into steps. But sometimes it’s hard to be motivated. This again, is a choice we each make. It’s hard to get up and get moving if we’re tired, if we hurt, if we have no help, etc. But this is the most important thing. I have found that when I am tired, I am less motivated. But I have also found, that when I get up and start moving I am less tired. And when I see things getting done, well that’s some of the best motivation for me that there is. When I really have a hard time getting motivated though, I have a few things I think of/remember. I like to remember how good it’ll feel when I’m done, that’s pretty motivating for me. I also love quotes, especially the ones about doing things, great things, these motivate me. Prayer motivates me. It’s always amazing and a blessing how much the Lord wants to help us, and will give us the energy to get up and start. Past doing is also motivating. If you have done, you have accomplished, it makes it easier the next time to be motivated to get going, because you know that doing so will get you to the end. And when you learn that you can accomplish things, great and small, you become unstoppable. I hope you can find things that will be motivating to you. I will leave you with a motivational quote that I found just today, and hope that if you are feeling overwhelmed, that these steps will help you get up and going, so you can become unstoppable in your life.