Updated: Apr 16, 2022
Does it seem that there are not enough hours in the day for you to do everything you need to get done? Do you ever reach the end of your day feeling exhausted and while reviewing your day, you find out that you completed very little of what you set out to accomplish? How can this happen?
You are tired, you put in a full day, and you have all the signs of having worked hard all day long except you weren't productive.
You were even in the office longer than you should have been. How is it possible that you didn’t get much done? This could have something to do with how much you are thinking about how much you have to do instead of actually doing it. (did that make any sense?)
At first, this idea does not seem like something that makes much sense until you look back on those days and notice how much you just sat there and told yourself “I have so much to do" but having no idea where to start or even worse, not starting at all.
That is acting busy but it is not really being busy! Definitely not productive. Remember the saying, “Motion creates emotion”? The person that can usually get things done is the person that has the momentum of getting things done.
The person who is trying to figure out how to get it all done is not really “doing” anything.
I knew a person once who was unemployed for a good year or so. At about the six-month mark, I thought to myself, “maybe I can hand off some of my daily tasks to this person in order for me to focus on and take care of some more pressing issues in my day.
I thought I was going to become twice as productive having someone by my side taking care of these details. I was off to the races, right?... WRONG!
Believe it or not, day in and day out, this person would report back to me at the end of the day and tell me that they did not have enough time to get these things done.
I am going to stop here a second and tell you that I know first-hand that this person's day was not full of productive activities but I’ll play devil’s advocate.
I get it, they are unemployed so they might also be somewhat down or even depressed. This was one of the reasons I gave them the stuff to do, maybe completing some tasks will "shake them back into the game" so to speak.
My immediate response was, "how did you NOT have time? All you have is time". I get that this was not the most sensitive response but I figured I was doing a good thing so I reacted with embittered puzzlement. To my response, I got the answer, "I didn't get a chance to do it today". WHAT??? Didn’t have a chance? Didn’t have a chance? How did you not have a chance? Then I started noticing that they were constantly reliving the loss of their previous job. They kept trying to figure out what happened. They kept second-guessing themselves and their worth in the workforce.
It finally dawned on me that this is what was taking up most of their time and even worse, paralyzing them from getting anything else done. They would spend most of their day worrying about:
Where their next job would come from
Wondering why they got fired in the first place
Worrying about how long they would be unemployed
...and a laundry list of other unhealthy, unhelpful thoughts!
All while not getting anything productive done throughout the day. Especially and including finding another job.
But I digress, I do not say this to be mean but to try to share a very important life lesson with you. Worry, anxiety, negative thoughts, and obsessing over your bad fortune will never move you forward in life in and of themselves.
I have never heard of someone worrying themselves into a better situation!!
I have never heard of anyone having negative, almost obsessive thoughts all day long and improving their health while doing so. I get that sometimes and some people cannot control these thoughts and feelings.
I do believe that if you are going to have them anyway, at least use them as fuel to move you away from where you know you don’t want to be.
Easier said than done I know, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Action is the only thing that will get you out of your rut.
Whether you get what you originally wanted or not, you will get something and chances are it will be better than whatever you had when you were not taking action.
Worry is a useless feeling that does not produce anything positive.
Been there, done that, speaking from experience! Action, as little as it may be, is the only chance you have against having too much on your mind and moving towards having too much on your plate. Which is arguably a better place to be.
Now that is a step in the right direction.
After reviewing this post I am able to see that my approach was a bit direct and very goal-oriented. Some may even say aggressive. I think the premise of this post still stands. Action is an extremely useful way to shake things back into place. Behaving in a different manner can make you feel different and hopefully better. As the old saying goes, "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line". This technique still works for me to this day. When I am feeling overwhelmed or frozen from too many items, I take one step, one action at a time and before you know it, I've completed the tasks in question and feel much better (and accomplished) for having done so. Give this a try the next time you are overwhelmed with "too much".