Updated: Aug 23, 2019
As the old saying goes… “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” What happens when you have too many lemons? It gets tiring to keep on squeezing. I’ve agonized many times over everything that is on my plate, spilling over, as many of us have. I have tried to find a way to complete all of my tasks, solve all of my problems, and still have something left in the tank for self-care, but at the end of the day, it just isn’t possible to get everything done at once. There isn’t enough time in the day and there is always another task to be completed or problem to be solved.
At least once a week I have to remind myself to slow down and quit looking at everything I need to get done. I often call my mom during these times, expressing how overwhelmed I am. She is the busiest person I know and she always keeps her cool and somehow finds time to get it all done (which is why I tend to seek her advice).
When I follow her suggestions, I feel a lot more accomplished each day and feel more at ease with what is still on my to-do list.
Start each day with a positive thought or affirmation. Starting your day out on the right foot can make all of the difference in the world. By eliminating distracting or negative thoughts, your brain is ready to start the day with a good attitude and fresh perspective, energized, and ready to tackle whatever is thrown your way.
Break large tasks into smaller ones. When a job or responsibility is large (like a forest), it can be daunting, even paralyzing. By breaking it down into smaller steps, you can chip away and make progress toward your end goal.
Prioritize. Arrange your to-do lists by most urgent to least. This way, you are completing the pressing items first. I often get stuck in the cycle of completing a lot of small tasks quickly (which can feel productive but is often just me running around being inefficient), leaving the larger, higher priority ones for the last moment (which can cause a lot of anxiety).
Single-task. Be present with each task, setting aside the others, to complete or make progress towards it with intention. Dedicating yourself fully to each task allows you to be more productive and do it more completely.
Self-care is just as important as problem solving and task completion. This is last, but certainly not least. You cannot serve from an empty vessel so it is imperative to do something each day that fills your tank and fuels your soul. You can’t be productive when you are running on fumes. Your act of self-care may be as simple as going on a walk or meditating for a few minutes, but it needs to be a part of your routine.
At the end of the day, I will still have tasks to be completed and problems to solve. By implementing these tips into my routine, I have a lot less stress related to it. I am able to accept the reality that I will always want more hours in my day and be happy with what I have accomplished.