All of us, at one time or another, feel overwhelmed. Way too much going on and not enough time – and now, we have more time than we want, and we still feel overwhelmed. What’s going on?
I’ve been doing some thinking and a lot of reading because I’ve been feeling the same way. I have all day and still find that I’m not accomplishing what I think I should.
From what I’ve learned recently, I have found that we all have a certain amount of energy, or willpower each day. Energy we use to focus, to concentrate and to get things done. Interestingly, some of that focus energy is used to keep distractions at bay. It actually takes some of our energy to ward off whatever it is that is causing us to lose focus. That makes sense. So, why does it seem like this is different?
Well, because it is. We have to admit to ourselves that this whole COVID-19 pandemic is emotionally exhausting. Emotion is like focus. We only have so much emotion in us every day. Once it’s used up, it’s gone. So we find our productivity being double dipped – some of it is being sapped by the distractions of the pandemic which seem to increase exponentially every day or every hour. Then we have the emotional toll it takes as we worry about our loved ones, our businesses, and fret about the unknown. What will everything look like after this is over. What will the new normal be like and how will we cope?
Feeling overwhelmed and procrastinating are natural reactions to all of this. This can result in freezing up, not being able to figure out what to do next. It can produce random efforts that seem like productivity but don’t come together to in any coherent accomplishments.
So, instead of getting down on yourself, cut yourself some slack. Recognize what you’re going through and that this is not normal, and the normal rules of focus, productivity and work don’t apply.
Now that we acknowledge that this is different, we can approach it differently and ask ourselves a couple of relevant questions each day. The questions, and their answers, will help to shore up your sagging willpower, or energy.
- What task has the biggest ramifications if I don’t do it today?
- What will I be relieved the most to get done today?
- What will future me be glad I did today?
- What would be the smartest thing I could do today?
You don’t need to use all of these questions. Just a few will suffice. So, relax, give yourself permission to not be your normal, always “on” self – and take some time each day to find a few simple moments of joy, and reach out to others who need a kind word or some encouragement.