Wow! That title, all by itself, was a mouthful. But it is all too relevant to me. Right now. I have bitten off more than I can chew, and I must speak at the same time. I don’t have a choice. I have committed myself. Again. I have got to finish.
This is my state of mind at the present. But it seems to be a prevailing, recurring theme in my life. In fact, it seems, for some strange reason, that I work better under pressure. I think this may be an underlying factor in my terrible habit of procrastination. If I don’t have a ridiculous amount of stress, I don’t perform as well. Procrastinating manufactures that.
The bad thing is (or worse thing,) I have to exhibit the mandatory emotional meltdown before I can get on with whatever I need to do. It’s illogical. I don’t understand myself. Yet, I continue to do it. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? I guess because I’ve managed to get good results most of the time there is a reward for the behavior. I unwittingly reinforce my procrastination by succeeding, or at the least, satisfactorily completing whatever it is I said I would do. (Excuse me while I wipe my mouth.)
Although I feel like a head case after divulging all of that, my guess is that I’m not the only one. Whether you’re the harried homemaker, or have-it-all career mom, or even if you’re a dad and you fall in one of these categories, you’re most likely stressed to the point of being one mini-crisis away from being a heaping puddle right where you stand. This isn’t a new problem.
So how do we deal with it? I don’t have the answers. I have suggestions that may or may not work for you. Sometimes they don’t work for me, but here goes.
1) God. Go to him. Pour out your heart. Ask for help. Read his word. Meditate on it. Keep him first. Remember the whole, “Seek ye first” commandment. It’s reassuring.
2) Take assessment of what’s going on in your life. Re-prioritize. Pick your battles. Say “no” and don’t feel guilty. Someone told me one time to concentrate on what is important instead of what was urgent. That tends to be my way.
3) Make a list. Start with the easiest thing and work your way up. You may be delaying the inevitable worst one until the end, but you may just be so encouraged from completing everything else it won’t seem like such a difficult thing to do.
4) Make a daily list. Okay, this one seems like a repeat, but I have to share this trick that pretty much got me through college. I cannot take credit for this. It was a suggestion to a roomful of RAs by the VP of our university who also taught classes, ran businesses, was a church leader, and the mayor of the city all at the same time. He took an index card everyday and listed everything he needed to do that day (he recommended a calendar with special events and assignments to reference). At the end of the day everything on the list was either completed, discarded from the list, or carried to the next day.
5) Make a daily list of 10 things for which you are thankful to God. Sometimes we need to take stock of all of our blessings to get us out of the mire of pity and guilt that can worry and delay us.
6) Just do it. Sometimes you need to just pick a starting point and march forward.
7) Go have a meltdown. Yes, give yourself permission to have a weak moment and pity yourself. But limit it to just a few minutes. Then give yourself a pep talk and go to it again.
8) Delegate and seek help from others. Then either let them do it or take the help and suggestions graciously. Have you ever asked for help and didn’t like the answer? Let go!!!! A very good piece of parenting advice that I follow came from a blog. Texashomesteader.com to be exact. The blogger was talking about chores around their homestead and with her homeschooled children. She followed the advice of another who said, “Teach your children to do something well. Then get out of their way and let them do it.” I don’t think this means they have to do it perfectly, but you should allow them to do the task without constant criticism. It’s okay to correct mistakes, just don’t be a dictator, perfectionist, control-freak about it. How ever much was completed is less you’ll have to do, even if you have to finish the job to perfection, later, out of view, for your own peace of mind.
9) Do something fun. Sometimes you need to act spontaneously and get your mind off of things. Denial is usually one of those things that can be destructive personally, but every once in a while it is a tool that can prevent an obsession.
10) Eat right and exercise. That just hurt, really bad. I don’t know why this is so hard to do, but it is. It tends to be the thing on my daily list that gets discarded or moved to the next day the most. It is one of my biggest personal struggles to be motivated to do this. I’m still working on it, not very well, but I am.
Like I said, some of these don’t work for me right now. Some of them do. Some I hit sporadically. All in all, it is occasionally uplifting to recall this wisdom that I’ve learned from others and realize that if things get really rough, I do have the ability to handle it. As my mother says, “This too shall pass.”
Oh! Wait a minute! Wasn’t I supposed to continue the analogy of table manners and life…. Oh well, it will have to go on tomorrow’s index card.