too much to do?


As I look around I can see heaps of things I need to do. Literally heaps. There is paperwork to sort, bills to pay, random assorted objects to be returned to their rightful homes. As I sit at my desk and turn my head I can see the wooden floor I need to prepare before I can paint it. And around the corner is a pile of sketchbooks with ideas to develop for my upcoming art show.

So why am I sitting here typing this?
Because I know you will recognise this feeling!

Just too much to do and so difficult to get started on any of it… I used to feel like this everyday, and it’s not a great feeling.

It can make me feel panicky and overwhelmed. With small children and a home to run there is a never ending list of tasks, and most of them need repeating on a daily basis. Over the last few years as I have been involved in major renovation work on there is always something to check, research or respond to.

So I have had to become more organised and diligent which doesn’t come naturally to me. I like to respond to things instinctively but when other people rely on you this isn’t a system that works well and results in huffy children as you miss a school deadline, and people chasing you for a response you should have given last week. And who’s in charge then? Not you any longer that’s for sure!

Gradually I have learnt that I am most satisfied when I feel more in control. I’m more energetic, I’m more productive and most importantly I enjoy my life more (and am a nicer person to live with!)

So what’s gone awry in the picture above? Just life. There’s a lot on at the moment:

• the house is in disarray as furniture is still all in the wrong rooms as a result of the ceiling collapse which has taken a lot longer to sort out than anticipated
• we were away for the bank holiday so there is a backlog of washing
• my system of maintaining paperwork seems to have collapsed
• I have too many personal and work projects on the go at the same time
• the children (and the dog!) still leave remnants of toys and clothes (not the dog) around the house…

I can’t change some of this. The art show is fixed and life is going to be manic until I pull it all into place at the last minute. I have a plan for this and when I feel overwhelmed I can check it and see that I have actually progressed further than my panic brain was telling me. The floor will get it’s first coat this weekend (as long as I fill the gaps on Thursday and buy the paint on Friday!)

Having some systems in place that I know work help me get back on track:

1. Make a plan for the longer projects
referring to this means I can recognise that although things do get in a muddle it is work in progress!

2. 15 minute Whirlwinds
my system for tackling those tasks I really don’t relish: 15 minutes paperwork. Move on. 15 minutes laundry and bedrooms. Move on. 15 minutes computer tasks. etc Set a timer, put on some good music and focus on the feeling when you’ve finished!

So as I look at the clock and feel the day is ticking away I know that by 1pm I will have done enough to feel I can spend time on the artwork I need to without feeling guilty. And now I’ve made that promise I’d better go and get on with it!

How do you cope when you get overwhwelmed? What helps for you? Let me know below.

Alice x



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