We all go through times when there are extra, or unusual things going on that add some stress to our already full schedules. Sometimes it can get overwhelming, and you either want to cry or scream! (Yes, I’ve done both!)
I’m at that place right now.
This past week I was only home for one day, as I left Tuesday to go to Cleveland and support my sister in the sudden death of her husband.
Today, my brother is flying in from FL. He will be staying with our family, and spending Easter day with us.
Monday morning we will drive to Cleveland to spend time with both of my sisters before the viewing Monday evening.
We’ll be staying overnight at a friend’s home, then going to the funeral Tuesday. I will be back home sometime Tuesday evening.
On Friday, I will be leaving town again to speak at a conference on Saturday. At the conference I not only speak, but we also take resources to sell in the vendor hall, so I have packing to do.
On top of all that, I am trying to finish a new curriculum project that I’ve been writing, and was supposed to have ready for the conference next weekend.
Soooo, I have been feeling a bit stressed thinking about getting the house clean, preparing Easter dinner, making sure clothes are clean for the trip to Cleveland, etc.
I have faced overwhelming times like this before, but with different circumstances. I have learned that there ARE ways to handle the stress that comes when it’s crunch time, and you’ve got lots to do but very little time.
Here are some secrets that will help when you face these stressful times.
1. Remember that it’s temporary.
This past week has been unusually busy with all the events that happened, and this next week will be. But AFTER that, it will go back to normal. It’s not going to be like this forever.
2. Don’t neglect your time alone with God.
“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3
At times like this, my thoughts are very scattered, running in many directions. I NEED God’s help, wisdom, and strength! It’s so common during extra busy times to neglect THE most important thing – spending time with God. We think we don’t have time for that, when really it’s more important than ever to take time to spend in His Word and prayer. Don’t be a Martha – be a Mary!
After seeking God, make a list of the absolute “must do’s“. Don’t worry about the things you’d LIKE to do, but focus on what you MUST do. For example, in cleaning today for my brother’s arrival, I found myself wanting to do some organizing and deeper cleaning. I had to remind myself that this wasn’t the time for that, and I needed to focus on getting the bed made for him, the kitchen cleaned up, and the floors cleaned.
4. Plan your schedule to accomplish the must do’s in the time you have.
At times like this, the TIMER is my best friend. I set the timer when I begin one of the tasks on the list, and try to get done before the time is up. That helps me to be motivated, and to stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted, and start doing something else on your list, before finishing the project you are working on. The timer helps you stay on track, and when you beat it, it gives you a nice feeling of accomplishment
5. Delegate whatever you can.
I gave both of my kids a list of things I needed them to do for me today, to help get things done. I also asked my husband to drive to the airport to pick my brother up. It’s a stressful drive for me, and I’m already a little stressed. He doesn’t mind the drive at all. (He drives for a living) Not going to the airport also gave me about 2 extra hours, which is why I have time to write this post.
I asked my married daughter if we could all come over to their house tonight for a cookout. They are coming over for Easter dinner tomorrow, so I also asked her to pick up a couple of things I still needed from the store. Two less thing for me to have to take care of: no trip to the store, and tonight’s dinner is covered. An added plus is the time we will all have together to visit with my brother, since he won’t be here for very long.
6. Eliminate your time wasters.
Identify your time wasters, and avoid them! I turned the sound off on my computer so I wouldn’t hear when notifications came in, and then be tempted to spend “a minute” reading it…..which usually turns into an hour. I did hop on in between tasks, but gave myself a 5 minute limit, then went back to work.
7. DON’T skimp on your sleep.
I’ll admit that for a couple nights this week, I stayed up later than I should. By Thursday I was feeling it, and realized that wasn’t a wise move to make. Today I was tempted to get up early to get started on things. However, I knew that I needed to allow myself at least 8 hours of sleep. When you’re tired, everything is even more stressful and overwhelming. I want to be a blessing and help to my sister, and if I’m a basket case I won’t be any help at all!
You may not be in a time crunch that has you stressed right now, but it WILL come, so be prepared to handle it calmly, rather than giving into the stress!