In today’s busy, overbooked, and often chaotic world, how often do you feel like you’ve overextended yourself?
For me, it’s often. And to be honest, I feel like that’s what I’m doing right now.
I have so many projects that I’m working on, and I definitely feel overextended.
It’s not because I don’t know how to say no to others.
Believe me, I’m not afraid to say no when I feel that I can’t give my best to people.
My biggest problem is that I struggle to say no to myself.
And I don’t think I’m alone in that.
Many of us add extra things to our plates, thinking that it’s not going to be that big of a deal.
And then due dates happen all at once, and we feel stuck and overextended—or at least I do.
For me, when you add insomnia to the equation, it makes it very difficult to feel functional on certain days.
Today is one of those days.
The things on my plate right now, I’ve actually been doing for a while.
But a lot of really big things are happening all at once, and it’s getting harder and harder to ground myself.
I’m trying to prioritize what’s coming up first.
Right now, I am looking at everything on my plate and deciding on the most important things.
Naturally, in doing this, there are going to be things that will have to wait—and that’s okay.
There are things on all our plates that will have to wait for another day when we have more time and more energy to devote to those things.
But for today, those things will have to stay sitting on my plate. And I have to be okay with that.
You have to be okay with that, too.
Life’s distractions are going to cause us to feel overextended sometimes.
Some of the hardest things for me to manage are when those needful distractions come.
I feel like I really want to accomplish this one thing, but I keep getting distracted by doing all the other little things that I need to do along the way.
For example, I had to completely reset my computer, erase everything from it, and start all over again.
I’m just hoping I didn’t lose anything in the process.
Yes, I backed things up, but all of that just added to the things I didn’t plan on having to do.
It’s been an extra ten hours of backing photos up from the early 2000s that were not on my iCloud.
My mistake was ignoring this task for a while because of all the other things on my plate.
I guess that sometimes when things stay on our plates for a very long time, life forces us to take them off.
I’m definitely feeling forced to take some things off my plate today when I just wanted to leave them there for a little bit longer.
But in reality, those things don’t happen very often.
We almost always get to choose what we’re going to do each day.
My suggestion is to tackle the most important thing first.
To help with that feeling of being overextended, make a list of everything you need to do.
Then, pick just one thing you’re going to check off the list.
For me, I try to put the tasks in order of when they need to be done and how important they are.
This really helps me to focus on what I need to do.
Once they are in order, choose just one to tackle. And if you’re able to accomplish that one, choose another one, and so on and so on.
Part of the overwhelm that we feel is looking at everything on the plate all at once.
But just like a real plate of food, it’s best to eat it one bite at a time.
I’m glad that the task of fixing my computer is done. That’s one bite that was a little harder to swallow.
Hopefully, now that it’s running, I’ll be able to move forward in doing the things on my list that I actually want to do.
Still, I will be doing those things one task at a time.
We have to stop putting pressure on ourselves.
Today, I turned to my daughter and said, “You know what, I think we’re going to get takeout tonight because I just don’t have enough time to go to the grocery store and get what I need to cook dinner.”
It’s okay to simplify some of those things on your list. It’s something we all have to do.
And if you can’t simplify, just choose one thing and do it.
Even writing this article has been good for me. In addition to checking it off my task list, it has really helped me to realize what I need to focus on.
It’s a reminder to stop putting pressure on myself.
We can make things so much easier on ourselves by prioritizing.
Just make your list, and choose one thing to accomplish today.
Then, when you get to the end of the night, take a moment or two and say gratitude for what you were able to accomplish.
In other words, do what you can do, be grateful for what you are able to do, and then just leave it at that.
Stop putting pressure on yourself to do all the things.
Stop kicking yourself for what you didn’t get done, and start celebrating the things you did. This is how we stop feeling overextended.
Life is going to get in the way sometimes. So give yourself grace, show gratitude, and end the day on a positive note.
Above all, be mindful of what you’re putting on your plate.
We all need to decide what is best for our own circumstances.
Being thoughtful of the things we take on each day is an important part of self-care.
The more mindful we are, the less we will feel overextended in our day.
And for those of you who struggle to say no, learn to be okay with it.
Learning to say no is also an important part of self-care.
And that includes learning to say no to ourselves.