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#607950 06/29/10 07:03 PM
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Many people are feeling stressed because they have fallen behind on tasks. The idea that those tasks are "looming" causes a constant, pounding stress which you just can't get rid of. This isn't healthy.

What are some ways you guys deal with this?

I have this issue in my own life, I always have a giant to do list which has important things on it. What I have to do is realize that I can only work on X things today, and sort out what those are. The rest will be done SOON but not NOW. As long as I focus on the NOW items, and work my way through the list, it helps me stay energized and moving forward.

If it really is something that needs to get done NOW and you just can't do it, ask for help. I know it's hard to ask for help - but do it! You never know who might be really happy to help you out!


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My to-do list is always huge. The problem is that when it gets unmanageable a couple of things happen.

1 - I veg out and totally stop doing anything and spend mindless hours watching TV

2- I start on a task, get side tracked and then totally forgot what I was working on.

I haven't quite found a way to deal with it yet since the to-do list is just getting larger and larger.


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Diane, i totally understand about the vegging out. I also can get to the point of overwhelm where I just shut down.

For example, i spent the day, until 5pm, in bed. Napping, reading, playing with my kittens. I finally just got out of bed and ate something.

I am working on not feeling overwhelmed - my mom is helping me create a 'do one thing a day' structure for the next month. Today I need to find my handyman's business card. I know it must be here somewhere. Then tomorrow I call him. Then Thursday he comes over and fixes things. Friday I will look for a RV repairman that does housecalls. Then Sat i will call him. And etc.

I know it seems silly to break things down like this, but it's all i can do right now.

On the sidetracked thing, have you heard my spiel about using a timer? I need to write it down somewhere and direct people to it. :-) A timer is the most useful item I own for keeping my on task. You just set it for fifteen or 30 minutes, and then you get up and do something else. And just keep doing that all day.

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Hey Jilly,
No I've not heard about the timer thing. Sounds like a plan. I'm going to try it. Let you know how it goes.
Thanks!!! (Hopefully I wont get sidetracked about why i set the timer...lol.)


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I completely understand the overwhelm and the habit of shutting down! The only thing I've found that works for me is to create a physical "to do" list. My lists are often several pages and have tons of stuff on them, so they can be overwhelming too - but - I try to put things on it that need to me done within the week rather than just one day. I include the quick, simple stuff too and draw a line through each one as they are done. Putting the little things on there give me easy things to cross through and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I see all the lines. Doing the list a week at a time also gives me the opportunity to take a day off and veg here and there without guilt.



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I know it sounds like a lot of work but what seems to work for me is to have TWO lists. One can be huge. It's the "everything" list. The second one is the "today" list. Only specific things that need to be done today go onto the today list, and I keep it to 5 items max.

If I get everything on that list done, that's great! Then I can poke at the larger list and get some items in there too.

Five items seems "manageable" and it helps ensure I focus on them. It keeps me from looking at that giant list and being overwhelmed.


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I use to be a huge fan of lists and over time I lost confidence in them. I still have them, but mostly on apps on my iphone now, which makes me much more happy and in control.

Any other tips for now feeling so behind besides lists? There's got to be some wacky and new. :-)

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There is also the releasing of old tasks. If something has been bugging you for a long while and it just isn't getting done, let it go. Agree that it won't be done right now. Release it. Maybe write it on a piece of paper and then burn that in a candle. You can think about that task in the future, when your life is more calm.


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That is a good idea, Lisa, and works for things like "Put in a Garden." It's less good for 'Finding cheap pet neuter vouchers and spay cat" - which has to be done. For example, this cat is pregnant again, already. So i have to find a vet that will spay and abort. But it has to happen while the pregnancy is still young. Arggg.

And then there's still my old car parked in a library parking lot in CA. I'd love to just let it go, but this is getting past the point of being irresponsible.

Every time i think about these things I get the looming overwhelming feeling bubbling up.


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Debbie, i just looked at your stained glass site - the lunar moth is gorgeous!!!

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Thanks Jill!
That's one of my favorites too smile
I truly miss being able to do stained glass and am looking forward to getting my studio set back up. We're going to be moving this fall, so I'm hoping to be able to have everything set up to do Christmas presents for everyone this year. For me, the glass work is like meditation - it really helps be ground and center and relax.


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Yup there are some things you can't release. So see if you can find help for them. Yes sometimes your helper won't be much of a helper. That does happen. So move on and get a new helper!


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More cat stress and car stress. I have been checking a lot of things off my to do list, but the car in CA is still just sitting there. I have no had time yet to find a new VA for this. It was a lot of energy to set up the first person for that.

The cat thing i had to just suck up and deal with. The cheapest place within 100 miles is in Jerome to get her spayed and aborted. it will be $125 and i can't let her eat or drink tomorrow before Thursdays's surgery. Which means none of the pets get to eat or drink tomorrow since I really have no way to separate them from the food station. Blah blah blah. I never asked for these cats and am considering just taking them all to the humane society and sticking with my dog. I do not have the time, money or energy for all this. I am just trying to do the right thing, whatever that is.

In the meantime I am checking off a ton of 'imminent' things and interspersing them with easy, low-level items. And I need to take my atavan at night to get to sleep, since my inbox of things to do is not getting any smaller. I just lie awake and worry.

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Jilly, I hope your kitty is doing okay today. Sometimes you just have to suck up the cost and just "do it". You will be glad later when you don't have to deal with any more problems with her. 1 BIG thing off your list! Hope you are doing better now. Hugs to (((you))), friend. laugh
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to me I need to get focused on the MOST important task and FOCUS stands for Follow One Course Until Successful. I like your idea of saying other items will get done soon, but not now. That thought helps me feel like I am not negelcting anything Katie Brandt www.FreedomOnlineTraining.com (coming soon!)

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Debbie, I am with you on the glass working as meditation. i am like with that many forms of creativity. So soothing! On the cats, i switched things out and found vouchers for the boys, so they will only be around 50 each. They are in surgery right now.

Still trying to figure out mama cat Faramir. A local cat rescue lady is helping me figure this out. I am waiting for her to come up with something and call me back. My next best option is to give her to the Sedona Humane - who can't take her until Sept 15. Which means I'd have kittens again. So we will see.

My car thing is complicated on both ends - the new car and old one and the other old one. I still need the deed and the new tires on the white jeep cherokee. I still have the deed for the old yellow jeep that i traded the white jeep for. And then there's the broken car in CA that I have done nothing about.

OK, i sent a text to the guys i am dealing with the jeeps about. Once I get my title and tires I will have to pay for someone to put the tires on, and also get one of those free brake checks somewhere (probably in Flagstaff). And then get it registered and insured and plated, etc...So i am dealing with THREE cars and THREE cats and getting no actual work done.

I do have a handyman coming to the house tomorrow to set up a grey water system for my washer and utility sink.

Ok, right now I am calling the post office to find out why my address is not registered as a real address in the system. I can't order anything online.


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Called the post office - they need to track this all down. SIGH. They too will call me back.

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Jilly - just look at all these tasks that have gotten handled! Celebrate that things are all coming into order in your world!


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The car and cat things are handled. That is good. yesterday I had to put down my sweet William and I am grieving. My head is aching from all the crying and I miss him. My other animals are helping.

So, anyway, cars and cats - done. Post office, done. I have a leaking sewer tank in the rv and some more rain water to store (before they breed mosquitoes). I just don't want to get out of bed, or even do the hike i had planned for sunset today with friends.

Back to being behind on tasks. I would really like this week to get a lot of articles and reviews up, deal with everything on my editor help plate - there is one task i am avoiding doing - and clear out the romance questions so i can start the next month with a fresh clean slate for my work projects.

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Sometimes tasks have to take a back seat to health. If your health suffers, nothing else matters.


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Thanks for saying that. I appreciate it.

I dumped my tanks and cleaned that out, and also put away the rain water. I am not having the bad mosquitoes now, which is great. I am getting a handle on the moisture farming process.

I need to attend to my compost pile and spread more mulch, but those things can wait.

I am working on doing light work tasks - nothing that requires much thinking right now. Grunt stuff is the most soothing, right now.

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Jilly,
I think that non-thinking tasks are really good. I'm a house cleaner when I am overly stressed or distraught. It puts me further behind on tasks but sometimes I just need to get away from things.


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Yes I agree completely with Dianne. Sometimes doing something "mindless" is just what is needed - being in motion helps to relieve stress, and it keeps you preoccupied. And then you are a little happier when you are done, which helps too.


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I am so happy that I am getting caught up on stuff. It makes me feel like all i needed was some stability all this time - not that I was lazy or incompetent.

I am also figuring out what things can best be dropped from my plate. What things I want to keep. What to add.

I feel lighter somehow.

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That is awesome news Jilly! Everything is falling into place for you - I am so happy for you!


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YEAH, JILLY!!! grin It must be an terrific feeling!


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Chloe, that is pretty disturbing. I am not sure you are intending to be serious, since you have a smiley face after your post.

This week i am feeling behind again, but not in a way that feels like a crisis. It's more like a feeling that i need to sit down and work out a plan for Oct/Nov now, before things get to a crisis state. if i can just focus on getting some work things done now then things will be okay.

Time to tackle work, i guess. I have been more interested in hiking and camping and fixing my home than actually doing paid work lately.

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Jilly -

I think you deserved a rest after everything you've been through! You got a chance to enjoy your new surroundings and settle in.

It's good to work on a plan that balances in your joys of exploring with the other tasks you want to accomplish!


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I am not sure how exactly to integrate the work and the play.

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Starting a new thread on this idea.

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Was offline for a week while my laptop was being healed, and i am looking ahead at my two week vacation in Seattle, which starts in a few days. I know there is no way I can get caught up in a few days, and stay caught up.

Source of stress? Yes.

I know life things happen and planning ahead FOR things to happen is one answer.

I'd like to just accept that it's okay to get behind though instead of getting all anxious and gritting my jaw about it. Doing relaxation excersizes is limited - i'd like to start just letting things roll off me.

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Life can never be planned. Life by its very nature is full of chaos. You need to accept that the chaos exists. Life will always involve dealing with chaos and changes smile


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I'm finding that my Life Management Studies through Church is doing wonders with my stress level and being behind. I'm still a little behind, but I'm considerably less stressed about it and I'm actually getting more done as I learn to say "No"


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That is fantastic news Dianne, good for you!

Definitely learning to say "no" to things that aren't just right for you is key - so you have more time to do the things that *are* right for you!


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Dianne, that is really great. Tell us more about this course. I bet lots of people could benefit from it. Is this a text based course, or a group, or some kind of hands-on application thing?

RIght, of course, Lisa. The question for me: how does one accept the chaos? Maybe meditation, or yoga are helpful for this kind of brain-training. Or pondering on while hiking or running, or even long distance driving. Or hanging a note up that says ACCEPT THAT LIFE IS CHAOS.

I don't know how many notes i can actually hang up though at this point. smile I have enough self-notes up at this point that it's all just becoming graffiti.

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It's amazing how much better I feel about myself when i am not behind. Right now I feel pretty good about getting caught up on things. It makes me want to reach in and get more things caught up!

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That is awesome news Jilly! I definitely believe that most people feel more serene and content when their world is not full of to-do things everywhere.


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It's like mental and physical clutter drag down our spirits. I don't think striving for perfect organization is realistic. And one can never actually get everything off their to-do lists. But having a clean enough area - and a feeling of forward momentum - counts for a lot.

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Oh certainly I agree that if someone was in a plain white room with nothing at all to do that they would be very upset! You want just enough things to do that you can feel creative and have some choices - without such a gigantic mound that you feel overwhelmed smile


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True, it is nice to have a few projects going at once, just to have choices of what to 'play' with.

DH has been talking about writing stories lately - he wants to get a few going soon. And he usually has a few cool coding projects/apps up in the air.


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