In Real Life I sometimes bite off more than I can chew. Ok, maybe often bite off more than I can chew is a better way of putting it. I’m a girl with big ideas but I often come up short in the energy department or motivation department. I find myself doing this shuffle dance – two steps forward, one step back; one step forward, two steps back.
I wrote earlier in this series about just doing the next thing when life is overwhelming. I guess this is a lesson I’m needing to learn again, or better, or something because this phrase “do the next thing” keeps popping up every time I turn around. A friend quoted it on facebook, an author quoted it in a daily devotional I’ve been working through. I even ran across it while reading through some old blog posts written by a friend of mine:
‘Many of you have probably heard Elisabeth Elliot’s famous quote, “Do the next thing.” I’ve often wondered what happens when the next thing can’t be done until you do something else that needs to be done first, but you can’t do that thing because there is something else that has to be taken care of prior to that, and on and on and on in a backwards fashion until you’ve completely lost sight of what that “next thing” truly was.’
So when life is overwhelming, and you feel like you are standing still and making no progress or even loosing ground, how do you decide how to move forward? “Do the next thing” sounds great, but how do I know what the next thing is?!
When I find myself paralyzed, not knowing how to move forward, I find these things helpful:
- Make a list. Divide the list into “want to do” “must do” and “can wait.” Then focus on one of the “must do’ items for a set time (15 minutes? 30 minutes?) After that time is up, even if task is not finished, choose something from your “want to do” list and enjoy that task for 15 or 30 minutes. For example – Today, in real life, we rearranged my boys room and tackled the piles we had been ignoring. NOT on my ‘want to do’ list, I set the timer, we worked like crazy, then the boys were allowed to run off outdoors while Mom had her coffee break (our choice from our ‘want to’ lists)
- Ask someone you trust (husband, friend, neighbor, etc) what they think your highest priority ought to be. Ask them to help you choose three things that need attention that day and see to those first before worrying about anything else. Are the dishes piled high? Do the kids need clean underwear? Are there bills due this week that have to get to the mailbox? Pick the one highest priority item. Once it’s taken care of you’ve taken a huge step forward and the next one will be easier.
- Ask for help. Invite a trusted friend in who can be objective. Bend their ear, sharing all you think you need to be doing but don’t know how to get started. Their persepective will likely help you let go of the unimportant things and focus in on the really, truly important stuff that needs your attention.
- Step outside of it all. If you can find someone to stay with the children, take a walk around the block, visit your favorite coffee shop and just sit, sip, enjoy. Take a book to the park and find a quiet spot to read. Or take a notebook and write. If you don’t have someone to stay with your children, set a definite time and place within your home when they are napping or playing around the corner in a safe room. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, read your Bible or favorite book, journal your thoughts and needs. When you come back to the craziness, it may not seems so crazy after all.
- Stop comparing. We moms are great at comparing ourselves to what we think everyone is doing and being. I guarantee they are NOT all you think they are.
- Take a tiny step. Any step. It will get you moving, and you’ll soon find you aren’t standing still after all.
- Make the hard choices. I love spending time doing things that will build my small home business and I have enjoyed working on posts for this I.R.L. series but my children need me to be overseeing our homeschooling lessons and my husband would appreciate supper at the end of a long day. Sooooo, I have to budget my time and leave off what I enjoy to see to the needs of others. Taking care of them means a better quality of life for all of us. Even if I’m not able to do all I’d like to do at the moment. The rewards will come, trust me.
Feeling like you are taking a step ahead only to find yourself two steps behind? You are not alone! We all find ourselves in that predicament. But rarely do we stay there. Hang on, do what you can, no matter how little. Don’t let the devil deceive into thinking the little things you accomplish today are all for nothing.
Thanks for the visit. You’ll find all my I.R.L. visits by clicking on the coffee cup. See you tomorrow!
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