One Foot in Front of the Other

Do you ever feel like there are just too many things on your plate?

Like all of a sudden, you’re expected to be a fully-functioning adult who takes care of their own utilities, mortgage, medical expenses, vehicle maintenance, home improvement projects, and still has to fit in a social life and a full-time job? When did that happen?!

I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve entered a season of chaos, one that seems exponentially harder than the last, when it feels like everything is changing all at once, and you’re being pulled and stretched in a dozen different directions.

So how do you do it? How do you do all of those things? And how do you not go completely batty in the process?

One thing that’s been helping me is reminding myself to tackle one thing at a time. When I have a laundry list of tasks in front of me, it feels daunting and impossible. But if I focus on just the first thing, just the one thing I know I can do right now, then it doesn’t seem so scary. And when I do that thing, I feel more capable of doing one more thing. I tackle my to-do list one step at a time.

I love to-do lists because they keep me organized. But they also create a sense of anxiety when I feel like I have too much to do, especially when the items on the to-do list are particularly difficult or new in and of themselves. But again, if I focus on one at a time and remind myself that I am capable of accomplishing just one task, I can complete it and work my way toward finishing the entire list (or at least most of it).

I’ve begun approaching my work tasks in that manner– making a list of what needs to be done because I’m type-A like that and fear that I will forget things if I don’t write them all down, and then focusing on one of them at a time.

And I’m slowly starting to apply the same philosophy to the rest of my life. Big tasks are more manageable when I break them down into smaller parts. Thinking about moving is insanely stressful when I look at the whole picture. But if I tell myself that today I can pack up the contents of this one kitchen cupboard, that one drawer, and bag up our pile of things for Goodwill, then it doesn’t seem so bad.

If I spread out the work, I know I can get it all done without losing my mind. It’s only when I try to bite off more than I can chew that I begin to worry, wasting time frozen in panic, wondering how in the world I’m ever going to get an entire apartment packed, cleaned, loaded into the trailer, and unpacked in the span of less than a week.

Today I’m choosing to focus on one task at a time instead of fretting over a lengthy to-do list. That’s what’s keeping me sane. That’s what’s allowing me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, continually moving forward, even if it’s only by baby steps. What’s working for you today?

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