FROM OVERWHELMED TO ORGANIZED - How to make it all fit.Jan 21, 2024
Holidays are over, kids are back in school, the perfect time to get things organized as we head into 2024. At least in theory it's the perfect time. I hear it a lot from clients - “I know what to do, I'm just not doing it.” And I'm not just talking about weight loss here either. So why is it that so many people struggle with not doing things they absolutely know would make their lives, easier, more fun, healthier (physically, financially, mentally, emotionally) and just better in so many ways?
More people are juggling more things on more plates today than ever before. If you need proof, just take note of the answer next time you ask someone, “How's your day going?”, “How were your holidays?”, “How's things going at work?”, etc. The answer is always the same, “Busy!”.
Unfortunately, busier doesn't necessarily equate to more productive. Often it's just the opposite. With so many things to juggle and deal with little or no plan in place as to how to effectively manage and accomplish all that needs to happen, a large swath of the population is on overwhelm overload.
Overwhelm comes not just from the physical tasks on our lists, but the perceived aenda swirling around in your brain that goes with those physical tasks. For example, you end up staying a little late at work. In the grand scheme of things, most rational people would agree that 20-30 mins of anything isn't worth stressing over. But it's not just the time, it's the perceived tasks that start swirling around in your brain that go something like this...
Leaving work late means you won't have time to grab those things at the store before picking up your son and his friend after practice. Which means you'll either have to backtrack with kids in the car and then drop the friend off, which means dinner (now you can't even remember if you took anything out to make dinner...) will be even later, or fit it in tomorrow. Unless you end up working late again.... perhaps lunch hour would work...?
We've all been there. What most people don't realize is that it's really not the things that create the stress, it's the mindset around them that fuels the stress response and makes you feel overwhelmed. Our thoughts and beliefs dictate our actions and our actions dictate our results. No one is getting and productive results when a ton of new things to do start taking over your headspace every time there's a blip in your day. You can't prevent those blips from happening, but you can put things in place to foster the right mindset and shift from overwhelmed to organized when they do.
There are three things I've found to be essential when it comes to organization in all areas. The first and most important is to have a good morning routine. It's cliche but that saying, “When you win the morning, you win the day” is absolutely true. What you do first thing sets the tone for the rest of the day. Setting aside just 10-15 mins each morning, before you check your phone, laptop or tablet, to read something positive, journal, meditate, or pray, to set your intention of what kind of day you're believing to have, and then to check your schedule and make any adjustments before you get going sets you up to start the day calm, focused and confident.
The second is to have a plan. Also cliche but equally true, “No one plans to fail, they simply fail to plan.” A simple plan on the other hand can be life-changing. Take10-15 mins every weekend and jot down your list of things that need to get done that week. Then from that list, mark three things that need to get done for Monday, three for Tuesday, three for Wednesday, etc., and then those mini lists become your “to do” list for the day. Rather than looking at a huge list of 15-20 items with just 3-4 things ticked off at the end of the day and feeling that angst and overwhelm fire up and burn all week, you see a mini list of just three, maybe four items, all ticked off at the end of the day. That thought alone should make you smile. Imagine feeling satisfied at having accomplished everything you set out to do, not just Monday, but everyday? It's like how you eat an elephant, one bite at a time
This last one doesn't require time, or a plan per se. It's about knowing how to properly classify and organize all the things to work for you. Pretend a mason jar represents the time in your day. Rocks represent the important must-dos, small pebbles represent the urgent/would-like-to dos, and sand represents the extras and fun. The only way to get all these to fit into your time jar simultaneously is to put the big important must-do rocks in first, the urgent/would-like-to pebbles next, and the fun sand last. You don't need more time, you just need to make more of your time count.