It’s been a while since I’ve sent a newsletter or even written a blog post. Sometimes life gets so busy, we have to learn how to get ourselves back on track.

I ask myself four questions when I’m feeling overwhelmed:

  • What MUST I do right now? (or in the immediate future)
  • What do I have TIME for in my schedule?
  • What would I ENJOY doing?
  • What can I REALISTICALLY put on hold?

The “must do” items are things that cannot be ignored without consequences; things like paying bills, tending to pressing medical issues, dealing with the “check engine” light on the dashboard, eating, sleeping, staying hydrated…

Figuring out what we actually have time to do on a day-to-day basis is critical. I think that’s why so many of us look to the New Year to get back into a routine. We make annual resolutions with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, they often fall by the wayside before February arrives because we make them too vague or too unrealistic. Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote about setting goals that are obtainable.

Creating space in the schedule for a little “self care” is also important – what sort of things do you like to do? Make time to enjoy hobbies, go to the movies, read a book, get a massage, talk with a friend over a cuppa joe or a glass of wine. Whatever it might be, it’s important to schedule “me” time for ourselves to balance out the “must do” items.

Sometimes, figuring out what you can put on hold means learning to say, “No” to outside pulls for your time and attention. Other times, it’s putting a reminder on the calendar a month or a season from now so you won’t forget about a project, trusting you’ll get to it when you’re not quite so busy.

When there’s something that we really need to do but can’t seem to get started, it’s easy to find a kazillion distractions that we convince ourselves MUST BE DONE NOW! Yeah, you know what I’m talkin’ about. This is when we have to figure out what we can put on hold, what we can ignore – at least temporarily – in order to tend to that thing we’re avoiding. We may need to put blinders on in order to stay committed to a particular task at hand. Not actual blinders like a horse wears, but virtual blinders that allow us to stay focused and block out the other stuff. Set a timer – 15 minutes or an hour, whatever you can reasonably ask of yourself – and when it beeps, get up and do something else.

Wash, rinse, and repeat on a regular basis until that project is done. The satisfaction you’ll feel by tackling that thing you’ve been avoiding will be measurable, trust me.

I hope this series of questions helps you get a handle on how you’re currently spending your time, what you need to focus on, and how to get started.

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