We all have those days – and some of us probably have more than others. It just seems at times like life is going faster than we are, and we can never catch up. Do you ever feel that way, or is it just me? If you find yourself with a massive to-do list and wondering what to do when you feel overwhelmed, then these 10 simple tips are for you!
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
1. Have Time With the Lord
Too often, we get things backward in our lives. We think that we will spend more time with the Lord “when we get the time.” The truth is, extra time doesn’t usually present itself to us. What we should be doing, is starting our day with the Lord no matter how busy the day is. I have found that when I do this, the day often runs more smoothly and is more profitable. This shouldn’t be surprising. Jesus is our source of strength for the day, and if we seek Him first, then we can continue walking with Him and receiving His help throughout the day!
Of course, our primary purpose for spending time with the Lord should not be to have a better day. We should want to spend time with Him because He is our best Friend, and we want to be near Him.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I understand that there are days when we may not have as much time to spend in devotions as we would like. But, don’t let that keep you from spending the time that you do have. Satan may try to get you to skip it altogether because you do not have as much time as you want. He may tell you that you’ll have more time later and can do it then. Don’t fall into that trap. Take the time that you do have and spend it talking to Jesus and reading His message to you in His Word, and if you do have time again later, all the better!
2. Make a To-Do List
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, it may be because you are trying to store them all in your mind. You have to keep running them over and over in your head so you don’t forget them. Write them down, and give your mind a rest!
Once you have your list written down, put a star beside the most important or urgent things. These are some of the things you should focus on first. Let the other things wait their turn. With them off your mind and the most important things marked out for you, you now know what to start on and what to let go of until you have more time.
3. Delegate and Empty Your Plate
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed because we are trying to do everything ourselves. There is a reason (actually many) why God made us to live in families and communities. He knew that we needed each other.
It may seem easier to try to do everything yourself, but in the long run, it is better to let others help you, even if it means taking the time to teach them. You will benefit your siblings, children, or others in your life by teaching them and giving them the opportunity to help. Sharing a load can be a blessing to both parties!
4. Do the Little Things
While it is important to focus on the most urgent things on your list, it may also be helpful to pick a simple job from the list as well. If there is something that you can do quickly and mark off, then you will be able to feel a sense of accomplishment and hopefully keep up the momentum and motivation to continue.
Often, it is a mountain of little things that starts to tower over our heads. When we really start to whittle away at these short tasks, we will begin to see that our to-do list is not as overwhelming as it first seemed. This is a much better frame of mind to have as you work
5. Do the Hard Things
Make sure that you have balance and don’t just work on the little things. It is good to knock some of those off the list, but if you only focus on the little things, your progress may appear to grind to a halt once those are done and you reach the big jobs.
Instead, mix and match your big jobs. Maybe do a little job and then try to make a dent in one of your bigger jobs. That way you can still complete something and check it off the list, even if your big job may be too large to complete in one day.
6. Start Early in the Day
In other words, don’t procrastinate! When you are overwhelmed, it’s easy to become so paralyzed by that feeling that you don’t just get started. You may find yourself doing other things and the day slipping away without you.
Make it a point to use the early part of your day wisely. Don’t wait until the clock is showing you that you need to hurry if you’re going to accomplish something. Get an early start doing the things that you need to so that you can enjoy your day instead of having guilty feelings hanging over your head all day.
7. Make Your Bed
It may seem counterproductive to take the time to make your bed when you are overwhelmed. After all, that’s a job that will have to be done again tomorrow, right? But, I think it’s worth it!
Making your bed gives you a boost for starting your day. It’s a job that you can check off the list right away to already have something accomplished. Not only that, but it’s pleasant to see a made bed when you come back into your room. Seeming rumpled covers would probably just add to your feelings of overwhelm and that you are behind.
I have also found that when my bed is made, the rest of the room tends to stay cleaner. If you walk in and your bed is unmade, you probably won’t mind dumping things down wherever. But, when the bed is made and the room tidy, then you may decide it’s worth it to take the extra minute to put the things away. We can probably all agree that it is so much nicer to crawl into a made bed at night rather than tangled sheets.
8. Get Dressed
This is another simple task that you should have ready for when you feel overwhelmed. While simple, it can have a big impact! Staying in your pajamas or dressing sloppy is a great way to feel unmotivated and overwhelmed.
If you have things that you need to do, then dress for the job. Simply dressing nice and feeling presentable is a great start to being ready to tackle the day’s chores.
9. Don’t Procrastinate
When we get overwhelmed, we often tend to put little things off for later when we think we will be less overwhelmed. Don’t do it. Why? Well, two reasons. For one thing, you are just setting yourself up to continue being overwhelmed in the future. Not only that, but you will probably feel more overwhelmed by knowing that you are going to have to do those things later.
Instead of procrastinating, go ahead and do it! This is especially true for the little jobs. Often, we put off things and let them hang over our heads when instead, we could get them done in about five minutes. I know there are times when we have to put things off until we have more time as we mentioned when we talked about prioritizing, but this should be the exception and not the practice of our lives.
10. Take a Break
While there is a time to work more when we are overwhelmed, there is also a time to rest. Take a break both physically and mentally from your to-do list. Sitting with your feet up worrying over all you have to do is not resting.
You may be thinking that you have too much to do and don’t have time to rest. We all have time to rest. And, we all need it. Rest is important for recharging. You can’t keep going with a dead battery. If you will take the time to really rest a little while, you may have a new outlook on that to-do list and the things that were overwhelming you once you get up and at it again.
- Spend time with the Lord first, receiving His strength!
- Make a to-do list and prioritize your tasks. Work on the little things as well as the big ones.
- Make your bed, get dressed, and don’t procrastinate on the things that need doing. Take breaks when you need to!
What do you usually do when you feel overwhelmed? Do you have any tips for being calm and productive even when you are overwhelmed?
Until next time, trust the Lord to strengthen you for the tasks He gives you, and keep going!