You know what I'm talking about. Trying to make that mental checklist of EVERYTHING you have to do... The incredibly long list of tiny errands and chores which seem to add up faster than they should.. then there's that friend (or five) vying for your undivided attention between all of the work, church, (in my case) school, and kid responsibilities. Yeah, I get it. Life is crazy. There is no such thing as a person who doesn't stay busy anymore. Suddenly, around mental item number 35, your to-do list morphs into a carnivorous monster, trying to devour your time, energy, and joy. Forget leaving time to care for your most basic needs... like sanity.
I am learning as I go that there are several key things to keep in mind when in combat with that oh-so terrifying monster we like to call stress:
One: If wonder woman would shy away from your to-do list... its too much for you! (seeing as you are not wonder woman.) IT'S OKAY TO SAY NO. If you can't possibly fit that extra coffee date, volunteer position, or friendly favor into your schedule.. then DON'T!
Two: You only have two hands for a reason. You aren't made to do more than one thing at a time. I was recently sitting in my favorite coffee shop, drowning in the sea of things I had to accomplish, when a good friend of mine walked in. I greeted her, and she asked how I was. With the intention to be real with her, I said, "You know, I am kind of stressed. I am making it, though!" She gave me some priceless advice, and I knew I had to share it with you! She told me, "Begin each day by asking the Lord, 'What should I get done today?'" The simplest advice, I know. It made me think, though! He knows me. The Bible says that He knows even the hairs on our heads. So, if He made me and knows everything about me, He will know how much I can handle. Why not ask Him to adjust my to-do list for me? So, ask Him what you need to do for the day. When He gives you a thought of something to accomplish, set aside a certain amount of time and devote every ounce of your attention to it. I mean phone off, TV off, locked door type of fully devoted attention. Or work on it until you complete it before thinking about and moving on to the next thing!
Three: Take a walk, drink some coffee (or tea, hot cocoa, lemonade.. whatever floats your boat) read a book, paint a picture, take a power nap.. It is scientifically proven that you are more effective when you give yourself space to breathe! (really! google it!) YOU ARE NOT A MACHINE. You were made to BE, not to DO. You will lose yourself in your laundry list of tasks if you do not take time to do the things that make you YOU! Work some "you" time into that busy schedule. Maybe you could forgo that favor your friend just asked of you. Or whatever it is extra that doesn't have to get done.
Four: Get plenty of rest! You can't possibly function your best if you aren't getting enough sleep at night! If you are in the middle of something when bedtime comes around? Put it down and pick it back up tomorrow when you're fresh and ready to knock it out!
Five: Think in bits 'n pieces! You wouldn't eat a steak in one bite, so don't try it with your to-do list! This will keep you on track and help you get it done, as well as keeping you from being completely overwhelmed!
Relentless Creative Director