Priorities and Overwhelm

I just got off a call with my cohort in the Podcast Marketing Academy. The idea of overwhelm and priorities came up and I wonder if this is affecting some of you?

I have been thinking about this for a while. In fact, I started to write a blog about it earlier, but never finished it. Hopefully now I will.

Let’s go back to the early days of the pandemic. We had no idea how long it would last, but most of us optimistically believed it would be over in maybe 3-6 months. We consciously reached out to friends and family by phone, partly because we were isolated at home and partly because we wanted to be sure they were alright. Then summer of 2020 came, and we thought that as long as we were outdoors, we could get together with friends and family, so we had porch get togethers. Finally, the vaccines were available and early on after the vaccine, we thought “finally, we can get out again, maybe even go to a restaurant.”

Every time my hopes got up the news told me that there was still danger, and my inner world was rocked. So, I did what I could do to maintain some sense of order, and for me that was working on my show. I spend probably 8 hours a day (like a real job) trying to put together good content, researching, promoting, finding new guests, writing blogs, writing scripts, and many days I do not finish what is on my to-do list. In the mornings and evenings I am likely reading a book from one of my upcoming guests and making notes to prepare for their interview

But all of this intense focus means that I have lost focus on things that are important to me. Friends, family, being out in nature, dancing, gardening, listening to music. My priorities have become out of balance. Which explains the overwhelm. I heard others on the call saying much the same things. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in the feeling. It also does not fix it. This past week, I called a couple of girlfriends and just chatted. When I am feeling overwhelmed, the idea of making a non-work-related phone call could have added to my overwhelm. How could I possibly take the time for a friendly call when I have so much to do? I found that with both of these calls, I purposefully walked away from the computer, in one case sitting on my steps, in another case sitting on my couch while talking. I recognized that I felt calmer, which surprised me and delighted me. I also made a point to have individual calls with a couple of my grandkids and those calls made me smile and laugh … another delight. Granted, all of these were no more than 20-30 minute calls. Surely, I can find 20-30 minutes in my day to take a break and connect with my family and friends.

I do read, journal and walk or stretch in the morning. This routine has been part of my life for years and I have continued it. I think the overwhelm has come from losing track of my priorities. Losing connections.

I wonder if any of you are experiencing similar feelings 18+ months into the pandemic.

5 thoughts on “Priorities and Overwhelm

  1. I think you are doing better and being aware of it, brings you to changing it. Taking you list of To Dos and labeling them A, B,C, and even A1, A2, B1 B2, C1, C2 works and the A’s need to get done, then tackle the B’s and C’s can move to tomorrow as A or B. I commend you on doing all you do. I have to say that I have procrastinating on a lot lately, but am trying to get the most impt. things done like dr. appts for one. Decluttering another. And taking breaks and doing what makes us happy, can only motivate us to do the main tasks on our list. So be sure to keep doing those and not feel guilty you are taking time away from your priorities because self-care is a must priority.

    1. Josephine, it sounds like you are doing a lot of important things for yourself also. Maybe the procrastination you are experiencing is your response to this lengthy pandemic.

  2. Priorities are often self imposed. They take on a gorilla in the room dimension in our brain and often cause a real distraction and downward spiral of our emotions. If we don’t get our priorities done, we deny our needs which further causes a downward spiral. If we continue to lay this load on ourselves, we tend toward inertia. I am a list maker, have been for years. I call it a remember list. I may start a “job” on the list, get distracted, get a call from a friend in need or run out of steam for the day. At the end of the day, that is okay. If something never seems to go off the list, I ask myself ” why is it on my list?” Generally, it is a feeling of I ought to do this. That feeling generally causes all sorts of angst because it isn’t an ” I want to do this” sort of thing. I have learned to just stop laying that load on myself. I either simply get rid of, give away or ask someone else to tackle it. And I always, always, always create “me time” ! The list is put away. I do something I enjoy. I quilt, I read, I take my camera and head outdoors, I sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and savor it. I plan a “get out of Dodge” event and away I go. It might be lunch with a friend, going to a quilt shop, a bookstore, or something I always said I was going to do but hadn’t. I leave the list, the guilt, the I never finish(whatever is on that list that I ought to do but don’t want to, all of that and more behind) , it rejuvenates me, reminds me that self care is needed. It also allows me to balance my self. Our expectations of ourselves and those others have of us can become a mill weight around our neck if we let them. A good housecleaning of our mind is often better than a list for our lives. When a computer starts to malfunction, we restart it. When our life starts to malfunction, we slog along with “I need to get this done!” We need to instead give away, give it up or just cross some of our list off. Chose a life that empowers us not destroys us. Do a reset….frequently if needed until it becomes what we (really “I” not we) need.

    1. Judy, thank you for taking so much thoughtful time with your comment. I had not thought of priorities as self-imposed weights. I had felt that I was neglecting the things in my life that “should” be important, to focus on the work related things that I was doing. Reading what you say, I will make more of an effort to add the nurturing, want-to things to my day, that I have been ignoring due to work. Thank you, Judy. I appreciate you.

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