A Short Post about Overwhelm

Today’s blog article is short, because it needs to be in order for me to do it.

I’m overwhelmed. Well, I was overwhelmed earlier today. I’ve had family visiting from out of town for the past ten days, and yesterday, they left. Today, have-to’s and should’s about neglected work stampeded through my brain, and the more I added to the to-do list, the less I actually felt capable of getting any of it done.

And in the midst of all that, I had a very unhelpful thought, something in the realm of “What will so-and-so think if I don’t get this done?”

So, today, here’s how I dealt with my overwhelm (it might be different on another day):

1) I asked myself, what are the musts? What really feels vital and important for me to take on today? (The answer was: working on my novel; laundry; doing the dishes — the housework wouldn’t usually feel as vital, but it’s really piled up).

2) What part of the musts must I do? In other words, what chunk of each must would feel like enough for today? (The answer: thirty minutes of writing; two loads of laundry; half of the dishes).

3) Where am I getting into somebody else’s business? Byron Katie tells us there are three kinds of business: my business, your business, and God’s business. When I’m wondering what my mother will think if I don’t get my dishes done (even though she lives hundreds of miles away), I’m in my mother’s business, and nobody’s taking care of mine. And I’m adding to my overwhelm by neglecting my own business and trying to control what I can’t possibly control.

So that’s it for today. The writing’s done, half the dishes are done, and that second load of laundry is in the dryer. Tomorrow, if overwhelm creeps in, I will look at tomorrow’s musts. But that’s tomorrow, and tomorrow, my friend, is another day.

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