Easing the stress of being too busy
This morning as I was posting in my journal I started thinking about all of the things that I didn’t get done yesterday. Then I began to think about how many times I have posted this same thing over and over. It sure seems that I spend way too much time feeling overwhelmed and behind. I really want to get more done! Then I thought about all of the times that I’ve had this same conversation with other people. “How is your day going? Man I am so far behind I don’t think I will ever get caught up. I sure wish there were more hours in the day.” I have heard these or similar comments more times than I can count. Our lives can feel like a 20,000-piece jigsaw puzzle was dumped out in front of us with no picture of what it is supposed to look like when it’s done.
So how can we get all of these pieces to fit…or can we? This is the big question. It would be nice to know what the finished puzzle is supposed to look like. This puzzle can be tough and frustrating. I think it is especially difficult for those of us who are ‘recovering perfectionists’. We want all of the pieces to fit just right. To know ahead of time exactly where each piece is supposed to go. This particular puzzle, called life, doesn’t work like that.
Here are some reasons we struggle with our puzzle and some ideas to help us get our pieces to fit.
We pick up too many pieces by over scheduling. There are so many pieces that we want to put in the puzzle. Some more important than others. We start out by picking up all of the pieces we can. More pieces than we could possibly put in the puzzle today and then what do we do…try to pick up a few more. I know for me, if I don’t start the day with more pieces than I will be able to use, I naturally slow down. I put in less pieces than I would otherwise. What I have to remember is that every day I am going to have pieces left over and that’s okay. The key is to be intentional. Start with the corner pieces. Put in the most important pieces first.
The puzzle isn’t going together as fast as we want. Sometimes (most times) things just take longer than we think. We think, hey it won’t take more than an hour or two to put all of these pieces in. Then after working on this for a while, we realize we were trying to force pieces to fit in the wrong place. So we take a deep breath and start again. This time putting them where they belong. Maybe we didn’t allow enough time to do it. We thought we could put in a piece every minute to only find out that it took longer than that. Oh, and don’t even get me started on interruptions and distractions. It can really slow things down when somebody throws their pieces in the middle of ours. We need to do as much planning and preparation as we can before we start, but remember to not over plan. Spread the pieces out, find the edge pieces and get started.
With so many pieces in front of us we lose our focus. After we have put all of the edge pieces in place we are feeling pretty good. Then we look at all of the pieces that are left and aren’t sure where to start. We look at these pieces and then at those…which ones should we do first? This is when we just need to pick a piece. It doesn’t matter which one. Just pick one. Then start looking for one that looks like it will connect to it. If it doesn’t then try the next one and the next one. Keep going one piece at a time until you find a piece that fits. Then do it again and again. Before you realize it you look up and there are a bunch of pieces hooked together and a picture beginning to take shape. We need to remember that we can only put one piece in at a time. Concentrate on that one. If it doesn’t fit, then pick up a different piece and focus on it.
Life is a puzzle. What really makes this puzzle fun and exciting is that while we are putting our puzzle together other people are putting theirs together and their puzzle is connected to ours.
What struggles have you had or tricks have you found while working on your puzzle?