How do you kill your giants?
That’s right – One at a time.
Yes, there are millions of saying like this, but there is truth in all of them – if we are going to take care of those monstrous tasks before us, we have to just take it one little step at at time.
Lately Iv’e been in one of the most overwhelmed seasons of my life. Iv’e had church tasks, sermons, school, writing, family, friends, counseling and 1,000 other minuscule tasks to take care of – all at the same time. My list of both tasks (single action items) and projects (anything requiring more than one step) seems to grow faster than I contain it.
I’ve learned not all task and projects are created equal. Some are actually enjoyable, while others are more haunting then going to the dentist for a root canal.
As I’ve been knocking down my giants one-by-one, I’ve kept track of these little tips to help pull me through. Here are some helpful hints I’ve been using for getting though this overwhelmed season of life:
1. Find inspiration. For example, I use the picture above as a desktop back ground on my computer. This picture is a biblical inspiration for me to be to live like David and kill of all the Goliathes – one at a time. For other projects, I’ve create a folder or a piece of paper where I past saying, pictures, and other little reminders of things that will inspire me to keep pressing on. I find that without keeping little symbols of inspiration around I get drained faster.
2. Create a realistic plan. Without a plan, I’m toast. I have to know how I am going to get though the mounds of work before me. At least weekly, if not daily, I will sit and schedule out my tasks on my calendar, place a list in Evernote, or sort my Omnifocus by deadline and start date. I find that knowing I have a plan relieves a lot of anxiety.
3. Have things to look forward too. “Work hard and play hard” is a great philosophy to live by when you are overwhelmed. If you don’t let out a little steam out, you are sure to explode. I will start my day at 4 and 5 AM and work hard until about 6 PM, and usually pick things back up at about 9 PM. Once that 6-9 PM slot comes, I know I am going to home to be with my wife and son. I’ll spend time wrestling on the floor with Chandler, go walk the mall with Molly, get a bite to eat with the fam, or go on a double date. Whatever we have planned that night, I look so forward to it and find it makes me work all the harder throughout the day. Now obviously, I can’t afford to do something rewarding every night – not with all that is on my plate – but even if I do that two nights a week, I have something to look forward to that will pull me thought 16-18 hour days of intensity.
4. Remember the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train. I have to keep my perspective, this overwhelming season is not forever (or at least not this “flavor” of it). I can get through it easier when I remember there is an end. At times I may think the light at the end of the tunnel is a speeding locomotive that will pummel me to a pulp, but that is not the case (most of the time). WIth God’s help and a deep reliance on Him for strength and peace, I will be able to get to the end of this – and so will you.
If you have other tips for getting out of an overwhelmed state, I’d love to hear them! Please email me your thoughts and I may post them here for others to see!