I don’t know about you, but overwhelmed and out of time feels like the story of my life, especially lately. Between trying to finalize details for the release of my first book, Thirteen Scars, swimming way out of my depth in the world of marketing, writing my second book (Yes, there will be more books!), working two other jobs, and still trying to be the best possible mom in the midst of family storms, I often don’t feel equal to the task. Since I frequently hear other people express this same sentiment, I’m guessing I’m not alone.
If you’re reading this hoping I’m going to lay out some master plan to relieve you of life’s pressures, I can only tell you that I wish I was that smart. I just want to assure you that you’re not alone, and share some wisdom I’ve been discovering about myself in the hopes it might resonate with you too. Basically, I’m talking to myself and taking you along for the crazy ride.
The first thing I’ve observed about myself is that the more overwhelmed I get, the more time I waste. I realize that doesn’t make sense, and you’re probably thinking that can’t be right, but it’s true. When writer’s block sets in or some article about all the things I “must” do if I’m going to successfully market my book makes me feel like giving up, I find myself just staring at my computer for endless moments willing myself to be smarter or more inspired. If that doesn’t work (and it definitely doesn’t), I convince myself that my brain just needs a break, and scrolling through social media for a minute will provide that. Unfortunately, I’m typically wrong, and I end up scrolling for way longer than a minute through the same posts I’ve already seen several times plus just as many repetitive ads. Instead of feeling more capable and finding a better state of mind, I end up with the opposite.
Next on my list of problem areas is planning. Have you ever heard the saying, failing to plan is planning to fail? I’ve found that to be true for me in a few ways. For one, I tend to hate telling people no. I feel pressured and say yes without thinking through what other things may be on my agenda. I end up feeling resentful and being neglectful of things that are much more important to me or my family. Another way my planning goes awry is by not preparing contingencies. I sometimes fail to have alternate plans in case my initial plan crashes and burns. Finally, I often derail myself by refusing to plan for things I dread or dislike. I just keep pushing them off until the last moment even though their pressure hangs over me like a dark cloud, obscuring creativity and freedom.
Honestly, I discovered I don’t have time to be out of time, so change became necessary. Instead of staring at the screen when marketing and writer’s block try to swamp me, I realized I am better served to get some much needed exercise. I can take that quick walk I think I don’t have time for and give my brain and body a true break. When I’m asked to take on a new task, requesting time to consider is a new essential and lets me evaluate whether I actually have the time and whether I am even invested enough to want to take it on. I’m truly not sure if I will ever overcome the desire to procrastinate when faced with dreaded tasks, but I did set time limits on my phone to keep my social media scrolling to a minimum. Life still moves at a ridiculous pace, but these strategies are helping me feel a little less overwhelmed and out of time.
Do you have tips and strategies to share? Feel free to comment below. I need all the help I can get. ;-)