Why am I not overwhelmed? I’ll tell you…

by | Nov 3, 2015 | writing

I have every reason to feel overwhelmed. I’ve taken on a lot this month. But in the midst of everything going on these last couple of weeks and leading into this month, I have been able to juggle a lot of balls while keeping my stress at a manageable level.

mickey wafflesWhat’s on my plate: NaNoWriMo is upon us! I wasn’t going to participate, but this is the first year I’ve been serious about my writing (enough to know that such a thing as NaNoWriMo existed). And I have had this idea for a novel knocking around in my head for a while, so everything seemed to be aligning for me to have a go at it. So, I’m taking on the challenge of NaNoWriMo. This means I have the daily challenge of getting my word counts in. And I need to maintain my social media presence. I’m still deep in research for the sequel to “The Lady Bornekova“. And, in fact, taking an online ACFW class on researching for novels. On top of these things, I have the daily grind of life – my kids’ schedules and the housework (meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc). Plus various appointments and groups I’m a part of that meet on a routine basis. I’m taking two out-of-town trips this month. All in all, it’s a loaded plate.

So, what keeps me from feeling overwhelmed?

organizeOrganize and Prioritize.  This is key. Having my “to do” list each week, divided up across the week, has been vital. And routines have been a lifesaver. It’s been important, as well, with my “to do” list to prioritize those things on the list each day and make sure the top things get done. As far as the others – it’s great if they get done, if not, they can slide to another day that may have more time.

Deciding what is “in” and what is “out”. Jen Hatmaker’s book “For the Love” does a great job talking about this subject. She describes it as being on a gymnast’s balance beam. You get to decide what is on the beam and what is not. What you have time for and what you do not (what you need to delegate or eliminate). Writing this new novel for NaNoWriMo, on the beam. Doing the dishes, off the beam (delegated to hubby). balance beamClass on researching novels, on the beam. Keeping up with the latest movies in the theaters, off the beam (but believe you me, I’ll be there for Mockingjay Part 2 and for Star Wars. I’m just not there every week for whatever has just come out. Going to the movie theater or even watching full length movies at home has become a treat, not a norm.)

Realizing the truth. I happen to live by the words in the Bible. I believe it is relevant and insightful. The Bible teaches us not to worry about tomorrow, but to focus on the day we are in. If we are able to practice this, it can really cut down on our stress level. To hone in on what’s happening today, my to do list today, my priorities today, and letting the rest of the junk go. That’s freedom.

So, I encourage you, if you are finding yourself overwhelmed, to try some of these tricks. Organize, prioritize, pull some of the things that are non-essentials out of your day/week/life and/or delegate them to someone else. And learn to let the extras slide and don’t stress about them or about the tomorrows. They will come and you will tackle them as they do.

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Sara R. Turnquist