When There are So Many Things To Do and You Are Overwhelmed

MH900431223Things have been rather crazy lately. On top of the usual daily rush, which is crazy enough as it is; on top of the mid-year exam happening about now; we decided to remodel our home during the holidays. This means countless things to do right now. Meeting contractors, shopping for fixtures, packing up the house in preparation for a move-out, sourcing for supplies….the list goes on.

Even without this additional project, I have days when there are just so many things to do I feel very overwhelmed. With this additional renovation project, there are even more things to do now and I cannot take my time to do them because there is a project schedule. You know how it is like : You feel stressed up. You look around you, or your long To-Do List, and you don’t know where to start. You are petrified so you cannot even start on something. Everything seems urgent. Everything seems important. You just want to bury your head in the sand and hope that the things will all go away when you re-emerge. Yet, with every minute of sitting on your hands, more things get pile up, deadlines get closer, and you get more stressed with every passing minute. Sounds familiar?

So what do you do when there are so many things to do and you are so overwhelmed you don’t even know where to start?

What I do is something like a mixture of “Just Do It” (Nike!) and “Do the Next Thing” (Elizabeth Elliot). The point is to start doing something. Anything. If something is life-and-death-I-have-to-do-it-this-very-minute (like picking up the kids from school), then it is very clear. I do those first. Otherwise, I do not even attempt to start a priority listing of all the things I need to do. It will just take too much time to make up that list, and at the end of the exercise, I would probably end up feeling more stressed because everything will seem equally urgent and important. The threat of biting off more than you can chew is very real. I tend to choose the more immediate, the easiest and simplest tasks to tackle first. This way I whittle down the To-Do items very quickly at the start. I shut my mind off to the rest of the undone stuff and focus on one thing at a time. Before I know it, the chaos would calm down to a sane level and I start to feel more in control of the situation. Then I tackle the tougher bits.

The point is not to look at the whole situation and let it overwhelm you. Remember this saying about eating an elephant? How to you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Ask yourself,”What can I do now?” Tackle that and then ask,”What can I do next?” and you go on until you get on top of the situation.

Coming back to what I said about remodelling our house.  I will be even busier so there may not be much update on this site until the mid year school holiday is over.  Meanwhile, there may be snippets of update on the Facebook Page.  Look out for news on Chinese camps, especially.  We are planning to do a couple of camps this holiday again and I will be posting pictures.

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