There are days when the task you’re facing looks overwhelming. It’s so huge and complex and arduous that you don’t know where to begin. It can be a physical mess, like this, or a mental mess. But when you find yourself paralyzed and unable to do anything, you’ve got to change your focus.
We get overwhelmed when we are looking at the big of a picture. While there’s a time for big-picture thinking and planning, it can’t be all the time. The entire project looms so heavy that we can’t begin a single step. This is when we need to zoom in. Like the lens on your camera, focus in on a small detail and block out the rest of the scene.
Instead of looking at the kitchen sink full of dishes with no counter top in sight and floors sticky with spills and a fridge full of molding leftovers, zoom into one small square. Just start loading the dishwasher. Or just clean up one part of your countertop.
Putting tasks or things into categories can help you break a giant job into manageable chunks. If you’re closet is a disaster, then just start on the floor. Next, you can weed through all the hanging things. When I help my kids quiet the chaos in their rooms, I’ll have them start with all the clothes on the floor, then all the trash, then all the stuffed animals. But honing in on one category is critical to moving forward. Every job is different, as is every brain that approaches that job. Do what makes sense to you.
If the mess you’re facing looks like this storage shed, (which does reside on my property, but isn’t really my fault, ahem, that’s all I’m saying), then the best place to start might just be moving every single thing out. Keep a trash can nearby, but wait to sort things after you’ve pulled it all out. You will find things you didn’t know you even had and then you can organize according to what you need and how you use it as you put everything back.
If it’s a mental task you’re facing, try jotting down on paper. Sometimes the act of getting it out of your head does wonders. You’ll see patterns or solutions you hadn’t envisioned before. Even if you don’t, you’ll have a comprehensive list of all that needs doing and you can start with one small step.
Homeschoolers get overwhelmed thinking about high school–when their babes are kindergarten age. Don’t do this to yourself. God gives you grace for TODAY. Soak up that grace and live in the present. He’ll guide your steps when the time comes for tomorrow’s troubles. Be faithful with today.
Remember, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Same goes for whatever giant thing is overwhelming you today. Start as small as you can, but start. Don’t look ahead and wonder when you’ll finish. Or how you’ll handle that really hard part. Just start and when that small step is done, do the next thing. And then the next thing. And then the next and the next and the next. You’ll finish when you’re done, but you’ll never be done if you don’t start.
Once a project gets going, I promise you’ll feel some momentum. And momentum keeps moving itself forward. Your small success will take the weight of the world off your shoulders and put feet to your intentions.