Overwhlemed? Do the Next Thing.

Elisabeth Elliot is a lovely elderly woman and has authored many books. More than once her timeless words of wisdom have helped put things into perspective for me.

One common area we all share is feeling overwhelmed with too much to do. Where to begin?

Here is some wisdom from Elisabeth:

Have you had the experience of feeling as if you've got far too many burdens to bear, far too many people to take care of, far too many things on your list to do? You just can't possibly do it, and you get in a panic and you just want to sit down and collapse in a pile and feel sorry for yourself. 

Well, I've felt that way a good many times in my life, and I go back over and over again to an old Saxon legend, which I'm told is carved in an old English parson somewhere by the sea ... a poem which was written about that legend ... "Do The Next Thing." 

Can we live a simple life in a complicated world? Yes.

When you are overwhelmed with too much to do, remember to just do the next thing. It's amazing how those simple words can calm your mind, help you prioritize, and eliminate what does not need your attention.

American culture is driven for success. We can find ourselves being pulled along, not realizing that life can be simpler if we want it to be, and still be successful.

We can't fit everything in one day. We can't always take a vacation. We must learn to manage our lives. In Mediterranean and Latin American cultures, siestas are common. Maybe a power nap is your "next thing"!

One time, I had several tasks to do and I didn't know what to do first. I stopped myself and thought, do the next thing. I went and took a shower! (how many of us have put that off if we work from home?)

Or maybe, you've been so busy you haven't taken time for breakfast or lunch? 

We read, learn, think, plan, and then busy ourselves to accomplish our goals. Ultimately, we will become stressed and overwhelmed.

Slow down. And the way to begin a calmer life, is to approach it more simply: just do the next thing.

Photo Credit: lichtempfindlich / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Kathleen Moulton has a passion to bring hope to hurting people of all ages who are facing disappointment, discouragement, and loss. You are invited to read When It Hurts - http://kathleenmoulton.com



Anne Duguid Knol said...

Dear Kathleen,

Just what I needed to read today and I have so many friends in the same overwhelmed situation right now.

Oddly I go back to the Old English for my mantra too

That passed, so may this.

Now, on to do the next thing after first saying a very grateful thanks.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great post. It's easy to get overwhelmed and the simple question of what is the next thing can truly release anxiety. Thanks.

Karen Cioffi said...

Kathleen, this is such a wonderful post. I think most of us deal with overwhelm today and simply keeping in mind to 'do the next thing' is definitely helpful.

While I'm working at times, I can feel myself becoming anxious of all I have to do. Then I say to myself not to dwell on it, just do. Kind of like 'do the next thing.' It does seems to help.

And, my acupuncturist is continually telling me to do meditation - I'm working on it.

I'm thrilled with this site. The contributing authors have made it into a writing, marketing, and life tips smorgasbord for all.

Magdalena Ball said...

Thank you Kathleen for advice that is both simple and profound.

Kathleen Moulton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen Moulton said...

I tried to reply personally to each of you but it won't let me.

Annie, so pleased you were encouraged! Thank-you.

Mary Jo, thanks for your comment!

Karen, this site is truly wonderful for all of us. Thank-you!

Magdalena, you are very welcome.


Saumya said...

Love this! Such great advice that we forget too often.

Heidiwriter said...

Great advice! It's one step at a time, one bite at a time. Something I need to remember when I start feeling overwhelmed!

Kathleen Moulton said...

Thank-you, Saumya and Heidi.

Shirley Corder said...

Kathleen, thank you for this. I often get to a point of feeling hopelessly overwhelmed--when the "absolute have-to's" of the day are physically impossible to get through. I have recently been trying to practice a "one step at a time" philosophy. When I finish that one thing, if there's time I can tackle the next. But it takes discipline. Your post encouraged me.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Shirley, I am glad my post encouraged you. It's hard to slow down to one step at a time when everything around us is sprinting!

But I believe with all my heart that there are tried and true principles we can practice that are timeless - no matter what the world is doing.


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