Do you ever get overwhelmed and stressed, when there seems like lots to do? As I said in last weeks blog sometimes when I have lots of things that really need to be done I can procrastinate and find endless other things to do rather than do what you know would be the best thing to do? I can also equally unhelpfully let myself be lazy and just sit around amusing myself and telling myself I am justified in avoiding what needs to be done. I often think, being really busy to avoid doing what is best to do is not much different to laziness. Both are attempts to distract me from what would be the most beneficial thing for me to do, both for myself and others. Either way it never feels good because I am not honouring the commitment I made to myself or others to do what I know is best. This can lead to me feeling overwhelmed and stressed and worried about myself. The funny thing is I think I can get away with avoiding doing things somehow - but I can't really fool myself!! It is there gnawing away on my conscience.
I have lots on at the moment. I am avoiding saying 'busy' because I can have that unhelpful tendency to think that somehow being busy is a good thing and makes me 'important'. The truth is busyness is unhelpful. I am off to America in less than two weeks to finish off some study I have been doing for the past five years. It is a big thing - I have an exam, and lots to revise and organise for home and there. So there are lots of things that it would be helpful for me to be doing. It is interesting to watch the temptation to feel overwhelmed and try to avoid things and distract myself with laziness in either form, busyness or being slothful or paralysed from acting. Sometimes I can feel overwhelmed, not know where to start and freeze.
So what would be helpful for me to do so I can get started on what I need to do to get organised and stop the procrastination.
1. Ask how it feels when we don't do our best to fulfil my commitments to ourselves and others?
Yuck, maybe it feels ok for a while but it never ends up feeling good.
2. Write a realistic list of what needs to be done, and prioritise it.
Make the list realistic and be aware of time considerations and priorities. Be aware of that helpful saying 'Don't let your want for perfection become procrastination'! Don't spend a lot of time here. I know sometimes I can take so much time with a list, plan or timetable. It looks great but takes all my available time and I never get started on putting it into action. I have seen the most amazingly beautiful flute practice timetables and not heard the flute.
Remember all anyone can ever do is their best; but they need to start and be willing to make mistakes. Remember also our mistakes can be a wonderful way to learn.
3. Get over the 'getting started' hump
Often it is the starting that is the problem. I have found it useful to tell myself I will do it for 10 minutes and then I can leave it. More often that not, I do the 10 minutes and am so involved I end up doing much more and I often finish it! Doing this really helps me get over the hump of avoiding getting started.
4. Make it about someone else
If I am worried about myself and my ability to do something I find it really helpful to think about doing it to help others. I did this recently with some take home exam questions I had to complete. I had that real mental block to starting. I thought about a couple of my fellow students and made a start on behalf of us all. That really helped and I got it done much quicker than I thought.
So we can make our efforts to do our best with assignments, exams, or any work we do for others. For example we can do our best in our exams for the examiners who have to read our work, our teachers, parents, friends and all those who have supported and helped us.
So maybe time to get over my fear, which is all about me, and get on to do what needs to be done for others. The best way to get over worry about yourself is to do your best to be concerned about the welfare of others!
5. Do Your Best
So having set your motivation and having started, do your best to do what needs to be done. It feels great. Remember to be kind to yourself regarding setting realistic expectations. You can be happy knowing you have done your best no matter what the result. If you feel you can do a better best next time - put a plan into action to be more organised or focused and do your own better best next time.
6. Be grateful for the opportunity to do your best
We can remember to be grateful to all those who allow us the opportunity to do our best with our studies, work, and living. We can't be worry about ourselves and doing our best to benefit others at the same time. Choose benefiting others over worry about ourselves. Resist the temptation to feel overwhelmed and worried about ourselves and instead feel grateful for the wonderful opportunities we all have to do our best for others.
Remember it always feels great to do what you say you are going to do
And what you know you are best to be doing. Choose doing your best to benefit others over stress and overwhelm about yourself!
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