When you think of being overwhelmed, do you immediately re-access your priorities? Probably not. The entire definition of overwhelm is “bury or drown beneath a large mass.” That doesn’t scream priority to me. No, that would scream not a priority at all – run away quickly.
However, I think that there is definitely something to be said for re-evaluating your priorities when you are overwhelmed.
There are so many things that I want to do. OK, honestly I want to do all the things. I do. All the things sound awesome, and I don’t know why I can’t seem to manage to do all the things…but I can’t. I need to recognize that. Why don’t I recognize that? And why do I continue to add more to all.the.things? Isn’t the definition of all…all. So there shouldn’t be any more to add. But, I do find more…regularly.
It is time to re-evaluate those priorities.
I obviously have some non-negotiables. I am a mom, that isn’t going to change. I also homeschool my kids, that isn’t going to change either.
There are obviously places that I can make changes though. Take my blog for instance. I have been blogging at Townsend House since the beginning of 2011, and I try to blog fairly regularly. In fact I had been doing pretty well for quite some time – 3-4 blog posts a week. I love blogging, it is relaxing for me, to share myself with the world. However, it is also stressful. There are deadlines, there are self-imposed bars to clear before a post can go live, and when one of those bars is not met, I feel defeated. Goals that I want to accomplish, but know they are not realistic at this point in my life.
I had to step back from the blog a bit. I was spending too much time concentrating on everything blog related…there is a lot to think about when you have a blog, and it isn’t all fun stuff, unfortunately.
When I backed off my blog, I felt better emotionally and physically, gaining time to spend with my family, but I still had that little voice in the back of my head say “why aren’t you blogging?!” That little voice is hard to ignore, but I have had to put her in her place a few times over the past several months. And I have felt better for it.
Take a few minutes right now and jot down your priorities, and then write down your obligations. I’m sure that you have some matches in there. Those are the first items that you should be listing on your list of priorities. Then you can look at everything else and figure out whether those obligations should also be priorities. Or perhaps some of your priorities are actually obligations, and they can be cut from your list.
Just because you cut something from your list of priorities does not mean that it will be gone and forgotten. There are always new seasons in life, and new seasons mean shifts in priorities. I am slowly learning that as I age…apparently I have a steep learning curve here.
It is not easy to change your priorities around. But, what if you could only choose three things, and do those three things well? What would they be? When you look at your list through that lens, are you able to find something that can be removed?
How often do you re-evaluate your priorities? Are there some items that you would like to take off your obligation list?