I am totally option gal. I hoard options like it is my given right as a free person. I love choices, love to multitask, and am multi-talented. I am also a child of the media generation. Homework with the radio and/or the TV on at the same time? No problem.
But as an adult with a multitude of mandatory jobs as a parent and a wife, and many other creative endeavors I aspire to experience and learn, I have long been overwhelmed by my possibilities.
I write again and again about my brimming to do lists. And have gotten to the point where I long to have a good long crafting day without worrying about how dirty the toilets are. Because they are dirty right now. And how could I possibly think of doing anything fun when I have a potential health safety issues to take care of in my bathrooms.
When possibilities become a problem, it’s time to take a hard look at why you’ve collected them and what it is that you need to let go of or embrace to make a how to move on plan.
Do a brain spill and see what hopes you have pinned where –
If you can, separate them into different categories after you spill them. Perhaps you see a pattern of visits with people and cards to write. You could be in need of people intouch-ness. Crafting projects galore? You may need some creative time. Cleaning and fixing? You need a space that’s in order and unbroken. There’s nothing at all wrong with any of your needs. They’re asking for your compassionate attention.
Prioritize your possibilities
Somehow, I have an unwritten rule book in my head about which things can happen before the other things happen. It’s a conscious unquestionable choice that I must have my kitchen cleaned before I get on with the rest of the day. Dirty bathrooms would make my Virgoan Grandmother roll over in her grave. But I can call myself on it and choose differently today. Because I am actually in charge of this vehicle called family and life. Don’t anyone try to tell me different. I can also say no thank you to anyone else trying to throw stuff down on my to do list without me choosing to put it there.
Now is the only time you’ve got – Most important!
Now is the only time you’ll ever have. Make it possible to have the things that are most important happen in a “now” coming soon to you. Schedules and lives and priorities change. If the time isn’t now, do not however doubt that there will probably be a time in your future when you’ll be able to sit and knit. Or write your novel or just read a book. Mine. Sigh. A little faith here on the knowing-there-will-be-a-time will allow for the release of the anxiety of not being able to do so now. You may find that this perspective change will shift you into a place of permission to do it sooner. Or you’ll revel in the knowledge that you are not giving up, just allowing this to be a two-year from now goal.
Schedule It –
Plop that bad boy right into you schedule. My husband says it’s harder to make an appointment than break it. When you get to that moment in your life, that day with that activity scheduled, it may be entirely possible that you may have to cancel. But it’s equally possible that you’ll have opened up a door to make progress.
A half hour can make all the difference –
Even the smallest activities can be scheduled as opposed to waiting for the “right time”. On your phone calendar or your wall calendar, you can write tasks in at 30 minute intervals. A half hour to clean/clear a closet. A half hour to wash all the fan blades in the house. A half hour to read. Keep your expectation about that task at that time and you may surprise yourself with your progress with this method.
One step forward can make up for many back –
I find when you are not actively involved in any of your possibilities, it can make you feel anxious. Take one action step towards any of your goals/activities, and you’ll feel so much better. Even one work-out always makes me feel proud. A half hour with some paper, glue, and markers to work on making a card for a friend and I’m invigorated.
When there’s too many important tasks, nothing’s important. When you overwhelmed by your options, or your obligations, you lose your priorities and your clarity. Perhaps it’s partly about the permission we give ourselves to move on. And maybe it’s also about our lousy methods to organize our thoughts and our time around what we feel we want to do and what we must do. I do think we can outsmart ourselves and using the above mentioned tasks as guides and inspiration, there’s more than a little chance that our possibilities can become the probabilities we want them to become.
I smiled at homework w/ radio & TV as no problem. Now sometimes I can’t even help my children with schoolwork while classical music plays.
Are you familiar with the book Getting Things Done? It lines up with your brain spill! Here is the link to a post you might like: The Art of a Good Brain Dump (and the real reason moms need to organize) http://amongstlovelythings.com/so-1/
Thank you so much Lee. For reading and thinking and sharing. It makes it all the better to blog you know.
Looking forward to reading the Brain Dump piece!
Super article. I am so overwhelmed in my brain!!!! UGH. I have just stared breaking things down a bit into little segments. Not so scary then. Especially with things that I have to do and am procrastinating on. Not so bad then.
Looking forward to your next article. Love your writing. Their loss. 🙂
Thank you so very very much Sheryl! I think being overwhelmed and procrastinating is a bad habit we learn and have to unlearn by replacing it. I did it all of my life. And it’s literally been in the past couple of months that I’m pulling ahead. This week is two days of child care. And I almost got giddy thinking of all the other projects I could complete with that second day!
And thank you for your support because it has always made a difference to me.