What happens when you try to do too much

I had coffee with a friend of mine the other day and she looked terrible. Dark circles under her eyes, no make-up, and her hair which is usually styled was just pulled back in a pony tail. None of these are bad characteristics (except for the dark circles), but she just didn’t look like herself – or sound like her normal upbeat self. Simply put, she was overwhelmed. She had been juggling working full time, taking care of aging parents, running a household, and throwing in summer activities that were a full schedule in themselves. She was doing too much. The problem with taking on too much is that eventually something suffers. You may make a costly mistake at work. Perhaps you forget to go grocery shopping or wash a red shirt with a load of white clothing. You might not be able to give enough energy to your family and friends. Or you just might become sick yourself. If you’re feeling this way, I invite you to do this simple exercise. Take a piece of paper and write down everything, I mean everything, you have to do for the next week. Write it all down without worrying about the length. Now, go back to the list and circle the five most important things on that list. Write those five things down on a separate piece of paper – and put the “master list” in a drawer somewhere where you can’t see it. Tape your “five things I must do” to do list somewhere easily visible. Focus on those five things this week. Forget about the rest. If they didn’t make the top five, they can wait. If you finish your top five early, go back to your master list and select another three to five items to complete. Simple prioritizing. Goal setting. It keeps you focused all while keeping the dark circles at bay.

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