As the sun streamed through the afternoon rain, Josie the PR gal gazed out the window, ignoring the afternoon deluge of email. “I’ll deal with that tomorrow,” she said.
Josie sank in her chair and bemoaned the mound of work looming over her left shoulder. The contents of far too many individually labeled ivory manila envelopes bulged from all of the clippings and notebook papers full of scratch drawings and notes stuffed inside. She pulled out a folder from the back labeled “great ideas” and sighed at the irony of all those shiny new thoughts crammed in a dusty, forgotten folder. “When am I ever going to find the time to get to this?” she cried. “I’m so booked up with meetings and phone calls and daily duties that I’m too exhausted to actually go through all those ideas or even think about adding another project.”
Josie felt so overwhelmed with possibilities that even simple routines had begun to feel monumental. She yearned for inspiration, yet dreaded the day a new project would come along. Her headache throbbed in her temples like a skipping CD track as a reminder of all the other things that she hadn’t finished. This pile of work is taking over my life, she thought. My husband jokes that he should send out missing-wife flyers, my dog barks at me when I walk in the house, and my mom keeps waiting for me to call her back. I wish I had the first thought on how to balance all this.
Sound familiar? Josie’s story is one that you may have shared time and again with an empathetic friend. Sometimes in our efforts to do it all, we get into this self denial-driven, vicious cycle of the I-would-if-I-coulds, and it can hold us back from getting anything done.
Delaying that phone call you keep meaning to make or holding back on delving into a new exciting project can be so easy when we’re already overwhelmed. The good news is that sometimes it only takes a single line through a to-do list item to start a new rhythm.
When we buckle down and focus on one task, finish it, then pick up the next piece and repeat, we can boost ourselves back into a cycle of accomplishment. As we struggle to make it in this multi-task-oriented world, we can lose both our focus and our motivation. Putting off big tasks or delaying new challenges just makes the stack bigger for tomorrow. As Josie might say, who has time for that? Finding time to realize your passions means deciding that putting it off is no longer an option.