Do you ever have those moments when your schedule and to-do list feel overwhelming and out of control?
I’m having one of those moments today.
There are things that must be done. Work that must be completed. Assignments and deadlines are looming over my head. I have writing, sermon prep, event promotion and a long list of emails that are awaiting an answer. Let’s not add in the everyday of just keeping the house together and the Quigley home ticking along at a pretty even sync.
It can all feel a little daunting and overwhelming.
So what can we do when the list seems endless and it’s all pushing for the top of the list?
I am learning to just take the next step.
It’s not in completing every step but laying out the next step needed.
I have a tendency to err on the side of avoidance.
The list seems overwhelming so instead of doing what needs to be next I do something else… like put away coats from the winter.
When I’m overwhelmed, I do in the immediate something that is not important or immediate. I place it there because it’s do-able and my rationale is: “I’m accomplishing something”… even if that something has nothing to do with what is important.
It’s the task of sorting my junk door instead of dealing with the real junk in my life.
So how can we be productive instead of just ‘busy’?
Four Ways to Stay Focused
1. Start the day with focus – When we feel overwhelmed, small things can discourage us.
- Simple stretching exercises get me moving in the morning and clear my ‘drogginess’ from the nighttime fogginess. This also gives me an opportunity to mentally focus on what is ahead for the day.
- Second, I grab my choice beverage of the morning and settle down with my Bible and journal. Before opening either one, I whisper a simple prayer. “Lord, guide my thoughts, motives and attitudes so I will honor You in all I do and say today.” With that as my intent, I open and begin reading. This simple prayer puts my focus towards His purpose and not my own. He knows what lies ahead in my day so I can trust Him with it.
- For you, your method will look different. My method isn’t the magic-wand. Even when I’ve done all the steps, there are still moments of madness that sneak up and take me by surprise. But I can handle those moments better when I’ve had some quiet time at the beginning of the day to draw strength from Him.
2. Focus on what’s important
- This is usually what I’m avoiding. But dealing and tackling that task actually frees up mental energy so we can move to the next important item. Getting lost in the minutia of the small keeps us from gaining the momentum needed for the important.
3. Stay focused on the task
- I have learned the joy of a timer. When tasks are overwhelming to me, I set a timer. I can do anything for 15 minutes and so can you! Some things will need more time and focus than just 15 minutes but setting a timer focuses me and I push ahead knowing there is a deadline and a time limit to the task I’m tackling.
4. Limit distractions
- Go offline. Notifications, beeps, buzzes and dings distract us from our focus. There are very few real emergencies in our everyday real world. Distractions throw us off focus and draw our attention away from the task at hand.
Our lives can be overwhelming, our schedules full, and our mental capacities boiling over yet prioritizing, focusing and drawing strength from Him can help us keep the important in front.
Our lives can be productive instead of just busy.
What has helped you stay on task and focused on the important?
Jump in and join the conversation below. We would love to hear what’s worked for you!
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