Feeling stuck and overwhelmed because you’re a procrastinator is really not as uncommon as you might think. Take me for example: I’m pretty sure that I’m the biggest procrastinator this world has ever seen!
I put off things until the last minute. I tell myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” every single day. I putt around and waste time. I write endless to-do lists that I never complete.
When you’re living in that cycle of, “oh, I just need to get this done,” or “gosh, I have to finish that project!” and yet you continue to put them off, it gets overwhelming. You get stuck. After all, those things start to pile up. Not just literally, but mentally as well. Your brain starts to feel like a storage closet for all those unfinished projects you’ve never gotten around to completing.
Identify why you’re overwhelmed
While I will not pretend I have all the answers (I seriously do not have all the answers) I am starting to identify certain things about myself, like secret codes to an encryption. And the more I learn about myself, the closer I get to fine-tuning the kind of lifestyle that brings about the changes I want to see.
I’m going to keep this as simple as possible (like, so simple) because I’m a firm believer in the idea that all we need is a bit more simplicity in our lives.
So take a deep, calming breath with me and let’s identify some of those things that we need to work on.
GETTING STUFF DONE
I don’t know what your goals are and I don’t know what challenges you face. You might be a busy mom or an exhausted college student or an overwhelmed teenager with piles of uncompleted homework. Your mountain might be a dirty house or an unfinished manuscript that you’ve been working on since forever.
Whatever the case, none of us are immune to putting-stuff-off-until-the-last-minute syndrome.
So what are we to do?
(Go ahead and take another deep breath, because those are always helpful!)
What if we tried a different approach? What if instead of trying to tackle these huge, insurmountable tasks that require so much time and skill, we broke them down until they were just tiny, bite-sized pieces of work that we could get to chewing on right away?
For example, you want to spend more time reading your Bible. That’s awesome. But you feel like it’s not worth it unless you sit down with a notebook, a commentary, a devotional, and a concordance, along with an unlimited amount of time and zero distractions. (Trust me, I know the feeling.) We just turned a pleasurable, necessary aspect of our walks with the Lord into an insurmountable mountain though, and that’s where the cycle begins. You’re never going to get around to your quiet time with that kind of expectation in place.
My advice? Grab your Bible, find a somewhat quiet corner, and just start reading. Ask God to encourage you and speak to you in whatever you read and He will. It doesn’t have to be a whole chapter. It could be a few verses. The point is, you’re reading your Bible and you’re tackling that goal of yours in the simplest way possible.
The great part is, grabbing your Bible can happen anywhere, at any time. The more often you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes. Pretty soon, it becomes a normal part of your day. Just like that, the mountain has been dissolved.
What other mountains of yours can be dissolved, simply by dropping the complicated process you think you need in order to get there?
Simplify your life + eliminate distractions
In this day and age, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips at all times. There are what seems like millions of articles written on every subject under the sun. There are thousands of blogs to read. Millions of pages to follow. How do we filter through all of that and decide what to fill our thoughts, our inboxes, our minds with?
Lately I’ve started unsubscribing from a lot of blogs and companies – the ones that fill up my inbox every day and inevitably get deleted whenever I have five minutes to go through them. Just seeing those unopened emails pile up day after day is like having a fly buzzing in your ear that you can’t bat away. I don’t have time to check out American Outfitter’s latest discount and I don’t have time to read yet another article on all the things successful people have in common. I am becoming way more select in what I allow to invade my space. If it’s not relevant to me in my life at this point, then I unsubscribe.
I think the same method can apply in other areas of our lives, too. A lot of times we feel overwhelmed just from the sheer amount of distractions pulling on us. The television playing in the background, the dog barking, the pile of clutter sitting in your closet, the red flag telling us we have a new notification. It’s like a constant presence of white noise and we don’t need it.
Don’t shoot your dog though, that’s not what I’m getting at 😉
What I am saying is learn to be a little bit more select in what you allow to invade your home or work space. We might not be able to control everything all around us (nor should we) but we don’t need to be checking our notifications multiple times a day and we don’t need the television playing in the background at all times. Even having an electronic device in our hands all day can be an awful distraction (and yeah, I am completely guilty of that). I always feel more clear-minded and focused when I have limited access to the Internet or to a phone.
BE A MINIMALIST
I’m not the biggest fan of minimalism when it comes to home décor. I think a home should look like it’s lived in, you know? But when it comes to owning an excessive amount of material things, I’m all about getting rid of junk and reducing clutter.
The other day, I sat down in my shared closet the other day and just started organizing stuff. I came across a few pairs of shoes that were old and falling apart and I dug up a whole bunch of trash that had somehow made its way into the farthest corners of the closet. I got rid of it, and immediately, the whole closet looked like it had gotten a face-lift. Next I went through my clothing and I gathered up a pile of jeans that someone had given me that I hadn’t gotten around to trying on. Ten minutes later, I had about six pairs of jeans to give away and I’d hung up all of my shirts that were crumpled on my shelf, getting wrinkled. Voila! One less headache.
Where can you reduce clutter in your life?
It doesn’t just have to be your living space. What about the tabs on your computer? (Do you have seventeen open at all times like I do?) What about the number of books you’re attempting to read, all at the same time? How many projects do you have sitting unconquered on your plate?
Get the right perspective
What would God have me do?
Every single one us should be asking ourselves this question. Are we about the Father’s business or are we wasting our time on meaningless pursuits? Does our work have eternal value or are we pouring ourselves out on the things of this world?
Retaining this perspective helps me shave down my priorities. It’s a matter of deciding what’s most important and discarding the rest. We can easily sabotage ourselves by thinking we have to do it all right now. We have so many ideas and projects and we want to achieve so much – so much that we get paralyzed by all the things we could be doing, all the better ways we could be spending our time.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Do your goals and pursuits have eternal value? Are you working towards something that God has given you?
You’re never wasting time when you’re about the Father’s business. In fact, you’re exactly where you’re meant to be. So let go of all that is temporal and open your eyes and arms to the goals and projects God would have you work on. That right there could eliminate a lot of the clutter and noise that fill up your thoughts and your time.
To summarize? (Since I know that even reading long posts like this one can be overwhelming in a chaotic day!)
- Identify why you’re feeling overwhelmed
- Simplify your life + eliminate distractions
- Get the right perspective