In this edition of LIFEadvice, coach Kim addresses the fear and stress that come with unrealistic expectations and trying to do it all. She gives useful tips on changing both your mindset and your schedule.
Question: I'm seriously overwhelmed and discouraged. No matter how hard I work, the list of all the things I'm not doing or not doing good enough is longer than the list of things I do. I feel like I'm failing and can't see light at the end of the tunnel. There are just not enough hours in the day, and I'm tired of feeling like a failure. Any advice for me? Answer: You are not alone on this one. When you have internal pressure to be perfect along with unrealistic expectations about what you need to accomplish, discouragement, depression and low self-esteem are inevitable. Perfect isn't possible, and you simply can't do it all. Here are some suggestions that might help: Make a list of everything you want to accomplish in a week and also write down how much time each of those tasks takes. Then start plugging those into a calendar and see how unrealistic your list is. Are there enough hours in a day to do everything you think you have to do? Go through the list and figure out what are your top priorities. What could you drop out or get out of? You can't do it all. It is time to take some tasks off your plate (I will explain how you do this without guilt below). Some things may need to wait for a different season of your life. Most of our suffering comes from our expectations of what things "should" look like. This expectation is something you made up or accepted as fact in your own head. This means you have the power to change your mind and you must change it. You must lower your standards a little and know your value will be the same. (Remember your value is infinite and absolute and doesn't change based on how much you do.) Life is a classroom, not a test, so dropping some things (so you can have more peace and joy) won't affect your value. I believe you are better off doing less, but doing it with joy and peace. (Don't be lazy and drift through life, of course, just be realistic about what is enough.) Don't work off a "To Do List." These kind of lists will overwhelm you. While you are working on one thing, you feel like everything on the list is hanging over your head too. Instead, plug tasks into a calendar (employing actual time management) on the day and time you are going to do them. Then you only have to worry about one thing at a time. Don't try to multitask. Doing numerous things at once means doing none of them well, and it creates added stress. Instead, set aside time to focus on one thing and then later the other. I used to try to cook while helping kids with homework. All this created was unhappy kids and a burned dinner. Plan your schedule to focus on one thing at a time. Make sure you plan "Self Care Time" and block it out on your schedule every week. If you don't do this, you will soon have nothing left to give. You will also start to resent your family because your needs aren't met. Set aside time to take care of your physical, mental and spiritual health. Make all of these a priority. Don't feel guilty or selfish doing them, either - you are teaching your children to value themselves. You are also taking care of yourself so you have more to give them. Love your neighbor as yourself, not "instead" of yourself. Set aside a few minutes a day for quiet time and meditate or pray. Learning to calm yourself and focus on gratitude does you wonders. Forgive yourself quickly for all the things you don't get done - because for some reason this day was your perfect journey today. Learn the lessons it can teach you and possibly do things different next time, but don't waste one minute in regret, guilt or shame - they don't serve you or anyone else in any way. Guilt, shame and regret are fear over something you can't change. Make a policy against dwelling there. Check yourself to make sure you aren't using being overwhelmed as an excuse to get out of things as a way to get sympathy love, or to make you feel validated for what a hard worker you are. You could be subconsciously choosing to stay overwhelmed if it's benefiting you to stay there. Take stock of what feeling overwhelmed is costing you, too. See if you wouldn't respect yourself more for being strong, peaceful and calm instead. Remember that you control the weather inside your head. Feeling overwhelmed is a choice. You can choose to feel safe, good enough and happy if you want to. Stop comparing yourself with others. No one else on this planet got signed up for the same classes here (in life) as you did. This means that you can never compare yourself with anyone else. This may mean getting off Pinterest or other social media if they trigger your tendency to compare. Remember that your value is the same no matter what other people do. Be flexible. Life is going to throw challenges, bumps and U-turns at you. Don't get bent out of shape when your plans get turned upside down. Roll with it. Trust the process of life. There is divine order in the universe, and your life is no exception. Trust that whatever comes, it is there to serve you in some way. Trusting life at this level will bring much more peace. Choose joy. You have the power to choose your attitude in every moment. We learned this from Viktor Frankl, who was a prisoner in the concentration camps during World War II. If he could choose an attitude of trust and love in his situation, you can too. It may take some practice, though. You have the power to fight the fears of inadequacy and failure that show up in your head. They are just thoughts (that come from your voice of fear, ego side). You have the power to tell that voice to shut up and consciously choose to feel safe and good enough right now. This is the part I can't do for you, though. You alone have the power to determine how you will feel moment by moment. Napoleon Hill (author of "Outwitting the Devil") said, "Human being are given complete control over nothing save the power to think their own thoughts." I believe this is truth. When everything else feels out of control, you can control your thoughts. You can choose to feel peaceful, unburdened, safe, loved, valued and good enough. You also should work on your time management skills and get more organized, but without control over your fear-based thoughts that won't be enough. You must choose your way out of fear. You might want to seek out a professional to help you learn how. Keep working on these principles and you can do it!%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D162265%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E