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Have you ever had so much to do you didn’t know where to start? Ever felt completely overwhelmed to the point of being incapacitated? Take some deep breaths, maybe close your eyes. Just breathe. Grab your favorite beverage, some paper and a writing instrument. Now, breathe deeply and pray. Invite Holy Spirit into this time. His inspiration and leading will make all the difference in the world! Learn to take baby steps. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Make a list of all the things that you need to do. Include all items you need/want to address at this moment in your life such as: clean house for company, lesson plans, Power Point presentation, healthy meals at home, homework, declutter, update blog, lose/gain weight, exercise, research curriculum etc. You get the idea. Notice this is an end-result list. For instance, I said “clean house for company” instead of listing items such as fold clothes, clean toilet, wash dishes etc. List what you want accomplished when you are finished, not what it takes to get there. Continue to breathe. Do not become overwhelmed working with your list. You are just writing out what you want to accomplish. Baby steps. Pray. Breathe. Write. Pray. Breathe. Write.
Great job. Now divide your list into two categories: one with deadlines and/or with critical priorities and those that are not critical, at least not for the moment. Set aside the non-critical list for another day. Baby steps, remember? Take a sip of your favorite beverage and breathe deeply. Pray. Listen. Now prioritize the things on your critical list. What has the earliest deadline or is the most crucial to accomplish? What is the next most critical and on down the list until they are all prioritized. Next, on a separate sheet of paper, list each item in order of priority in its own column leaving space underneath for a sub-list. Break each item down into tasks to be done in order to reach the end result. List these task in the column underneath the goal. For example, if you have recently been diagnosed with health issues that require a change in diet, your goal may be to eat healthier. Under eat healthier your list might include: find recipes that meet health requirements, plan weekly menus, grocery shop, cook at home more often. If you decide to do all of your own research, find your own recipes and do all the planning, give yourself the grace to make this change gradually committing to regularly schedule time to implement the tasks required to make the change. If it is critical that you make the change immediately you may want to consider a service such as Build A Menu, which lets you choose the grocery store at which you normally shop and the recipes that work for your family from this weeks selections. It then makes a shopping list for you and approximates your grocery expenses for the week based on the recipes you choose. Their menu choices include Family Friendly, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Slow Cooker, Crowd Pleasers (serves8-10), Low-Carb, Allergy-Free and more. Such a service may ease the burden in the immediate future allowing you time to focus on other critical items.
Relax & Schedule
Once your sub-lists, which is more like to do lists, are made breathe deep again. Take another sip of that relaxing beverage you chose for this task. Seriously, try not to become overwhelmed. Breathe. Pray. Breathe. Pray. Remember – baby steps. In case you’ve forgotten, praying includes listening. Listen for those quiet whispers spoken to your heart. A solution, to something seemingly impossible in the natural, can be revealed instantaneously via the heart of God. As you breathe, write, plan, and sip soak in the peace and revelation of that still small voice. Now, get our your calendar – paper, electronic, store-bought, or custom-made it doesn’t matter. Whatever works for you. Begin with your top priority. Schedule time to work on each of your critical items. Yes, I said, schedule. Do not just make a to do list. Schedule it. Write down the items on your sub-list with a time next to them. Going back to our healthy diet example choose a date, April 8th for instance. Choose a time, 2 p.m.-3p.m (while your children nap maybe). Write it in your calendar April 8 2p.m.-3 p.m. research recipes. Continue until all the critical items are on your calendar, with both dates and times!
Remember, baby steps. Give yourself grace. You will not be able to do everything in one day, one week or maybe not even a month. The idea is to start, to get past the overwhelming feeling that incapacitates you causing a stressful time crunch or an all-nighter when a deadline approaches. Even if you can only work 10-20 minutes a day or every other day or twice a week, that’s okay. Be as consistent as possible with what life throws at you. You will make progress. The time frames give you a definite start time. However they also give you permission to quit when the time is up! You may not complete the task in the time you allotted. That’s okay. Put it on your schedule again and again until the task is complete. Do not try to accomplish it all at once. When you do this other things get pushed off the calendar and you are back to feeling overwhelmed. Baby steps : )
You can integrate that list of non-critical items into your schedule as you accomplish some goals and become accustomed to your system. Just remember: Pray (including listening). Breathe. Plan. Consistent baby steps produce consistent progress!
© Machelle Baker 2014Linked-up @Beauty Observed, Thoughtful Spot, Wedded Wednesday, Essential Fridays, A Little R and R, Christian Mommy Blogger, Faith Filled Fridays, Word Filled Wednesday, Imparting Grace, and Heart Filled Friday