I had written a completely different blog for you this week, but as I was sitting in my car waiting for a yoga class (much needed!) to start, I wrote down all of the things that I was stressing about so I could go into class free of those thoughts. But what happened next surprised me!
Sometimes the information overload and living life seems like drinking water from a wide open fire hydrant.
So much information – scattered information- spilled out of my head and onto my paper! Here is a quick sample because I don’t want to freak you out.
(Shannon’s 4:00 pm Wednesday thoughts: OMG, tomorrow is Thursday! Oh, those tax deadlines, the blog drafts, the postings on Facebook, Should I post on IG too, did my sample box of marketing items come yet, when did they say it was being shipped, oh, I need to get poster board before the photo shoot, is Walgreens open late, do I need anything else from Walgreens? Oh- yeah and I need to finish the agenda for the Red Cross committee meeting and have I sent the notes from the last meeting, is it on the calendar?)
Ok, that is enough but it was about 10 solid minutes of that! I am sure you can relate and maybe even more than you want to. Sometimes the information overload and living life seems like drinking water from a wide open fire hydrant.
The thing is, there is always a deadline…there are always 20 deadlines. What deadlines do you have? All of them. However, there is a way to make sense of it all. I am not saying I have the only way to handle this, but I can tell you when I take these steps and do them, my life has a clearer perspective and I can handle what is coming at me.
Most people are not as hard on you as you are on yourself.
Here are some options that you can consider:
Ask for an extension –
Even the IRS gives extensions (that is where my clarity came from – remember that first thing that triggered the hysteria) so I am sure your boss, your husband or your client can handle this one once in a while.
Ask for help –
Most people love to help others, if you need it, try asking and see what happens
Write it down –
all of it!
Tell someone you need help –
If you are not the asking type, don’t ask, just tell someone you need help or demand it (smile)
Do something nice for yourself –
Like take a yoga class to gain clarity
Cut the crap, stop talking about how overwhelmed you feel and start writing it down and prioritizing it!
Insights for deadlines – 3 Questions to ask yourself
Deadlines are manageable. Whether you are planning for them, scrapping them, evaluating them, changing them -deadlines are manageable. Prioritizing is easier than it sounds if you’ll ask yo
Question 1: Will someone die? (Priority One Status – Necessities)
Yes, if you don’t feed your cat or kid that outcome will be as bad as it sounds. If you are late to work for the umpteenth time, you will lose your job.
But no, if you don’t go to the grocery to buy ingredients to make the homemade brownies for Seth’s class tomorrow, no one is going to die. If you can pick up some brownies or cookies from the grocery on the way to drop Seth off at school, hen do that and for greatness sake, buy a bow to wrap around the package! Voila! No one died!
One of your priorities must be self-care. Making time for yourself is non-negotiable.
If you do not brush your teeth will they fall out? The answer is “yes”.
If you don’t wash your face will it fall off? Not likely but possible depending on how bad you’ve treated it up until now.
Seriously, if you don’t take care of yourself no one else will and you won’t be around long to help the people you want to help the most. Start small with 30 min a day – even if it is in the car before you go to work or at lunch sitting outside away from coworkers.
If you work at home, call a friend and go to lunch to get some friend time, laugh a little or do two 15 minute time-outs for yourself and write in your journal.
DAYDREAM A LITTLE!!
What if you were a kid again? What would you do with your free time?
(I would swing with my head below my feet on monkey bars all day! Oh wait – isn’t that what yoga is?!) You may not be the athletic type, so if you have a more chill personality then daydream. You may even try yoga and day-dreaming or some other activity that you love from childhood.
You will be so surprised at how this day-dreaming exercise makes you feel. It makes you want to change your life a little, sort of tweak it. This is a good thing!
Once you have made that thirty minutes a part of your daily routine, add another five minutes a day to either end.
Question 2: Will it make my life worse if I don’t do this one?
(Priority Two Status – Secondaries)
Is the aftermath of me not doing this going to make my life worse by being more time-consuming or will I lose a lot of money? The question is if I worry about it a little and can’t solve it, so I worry more and not do anything about it. It is the question – will it consume you and put you in a high-stress mode where you are paralyzed from acting on anything else.
If the answer is legitimate and is “yes”, then it is the second priority.
For instance, if something will cost you a lot more money or high stress so that you cannot think of anything else then it is time to take care of it.
For me, an example is if I said something to someone and I might have offended them. In that case, I will call as soon as I can to make sure to clarify – I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings, this is a high priority for me and my value system, so it affects me greatly when I feel this has happened.
It could also be that you cannot rest peacefully in your own house if it is messy, and all you need to do is straighten it to rest easy. Then it is a secondary priority. Remember, self- care is not negotiable. So, if no one is dying your self-care comes next.
Question 3: Is it really a priority if it didn’t fall into the first two categories?
This one is going to cause you to take pause. I understand. Hang in there. In this overwhelming, information overloading society that we live in, it is very easy to feel like we are not doing enough, or we aren’t good enough at what we do, or we expect too much from ourselves and others.
So what falls into this category?
It seems like we (you and me) are lumping a bunch of stuff together here but truly, everything that is not life-threatening or self-threatening is not as important as the first two categories. Handle everything else in one of these two ways.
First, the quickest tasks go first. Knock them out and build your confidence! Then, rank the others up and knock out one or two big projects before you get burnt out. You will feel amazing!
For those Big Projects: break them down into edible tidbits that you can devour in “quickest takes first” method. Tackle something that you have been putting off for days, weeks or even months. Name your big project and then list steps in order of what it will take to complete it. No timeline! Put these items in your “quickest takes first” list (remember this is your third priority list.) In no time, it will be complete if you spend just 30 minutes a day handling the items on this list.
(See the image to the left?)
Look at this 1. then … 2….. 3…. (there is an intentional gap between the 1. … because there are priorities and then there are things that need to get done in a certain order. These are different. Try to start mentally separating the must-dos and want to-dos to make someone feel better.
Write these three questions down in your journal, on a post-it note to keep in your car, on your computer at work, in your wallet. They will surely help you prioritize your deadlines until you feel in control again.
As always, I am here for you and would love to hear the way you deal with too much to do.
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