Aaaack! Too much to do!! Deep breath… and again… and other strategies…

Aaaack!! I seem to have too much to do! Working hard is the game plan… fueled by caffeine and enthusiasm! When enthusiasm fails – I have dedication, commitment, and a sense of purpose as fall back resources to keep me going – and likely too, some more caffeine.

Make it a grande… of your darkest blend!

I have been in this position many times in my life, with so much to do that I contemplate the possibility that I may not succeed in completing all of the tasks set before me. The thing is though – even when I feel this way - I invariably get it handled.

I take on way too much. I know I do… but I like that. I like to be busy – to have things to do. I have a tendency toward depression if I don’t have something (lots of somethings) to keep me active. My mind is busy – I need to keep it occupied.

People wonder when I sleep. The truth is, I don’t sleep a whole lot. I joke that I need a certain level of sleep deprivation to keep my ADD in check, but I am beginning to think that there is truth behind my quip.

It is funny how reality can sneak up on me like that sometimes.

Sometimes the complexity of a given task can be almost overwhelming for me to even think about. For me that is a thinking problem. It might seem so big that I am almost immobilized by the thought of tackling it. To undertake the task – I have to break it down into smaller, manageable steps, write lists and plan, and then just get myself going on one part of it. Accomplishing that small part will lead into another… and so… and thus… the job gets done.

Sometimes I have all of the difficult and challenging parts of a task completed – and I am really not all that interested anymore. The challenge is handled and completing the mundane parts still needed to finish up are boring, and my motivation drains away. This too is a thinking problem: my focus is gone… I have moved on to more interesting and challenging tasks. To deal with this I have to remind myself to stick with the project until it is done. Listening to music (particularly Baroque music) seems to help me focus during these times.

Sometimes I think I have more time than I actually do. Time can be a stretchy thing… and I might underestimate the amount of time needed for a project. I get drawn in by activities that provide immediate gratification – such a social media or creating visual images or even writing… and occasionally more important priorities get pushed aside. This leaves me feeling rushed and disorganized, or feeling guilty that I am neglecting an important aspect of my life.  This too is a thinking problem, and I seem to be more drawn to this kind of behaviour when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Sometimes I might be low on energy. This is usually related to a lack of exercise or not eating well. For me these are critical elements for both my physical and mental well-being. The difficulty with this is that, when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, time to exercise and eating healthily are often the first things to fall by the wayside.

Sometimes I need to be realistic about my limitations and acknowledge that I cannot in fact do or accomplish everything. At these times I need to take something off of my plate (metaphorically speaking or perhaps not) and practice setting limits for myself. I need to make time to breathe – and live in the moment – and appreciate the things around me… instead of striving to give more – share more – be more…

Sometimes I need to take a deep breath… and again… and just keep breathing deeply…

_________________________________________________________

30 Days of Autism is a project designed to promote social understanding and offer a glimpse into the perspectives of those whose lives are touched by Autism.

© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2012)

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About Leah Kelley

Leah Kelley, MEd., Educator, Parent, Speaker, Social Justice Activist. Writes blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding & neurodiversity. Co producer of documentary: Vectors of Autism. Twitter: @leah_kelley Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/leahkelley13/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/30-Days-of-Autism-Leah-Kelley/154311301315814
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10 Responses to Aaaack! Too much to do!! Deep breath… and again… and other strategies…

  1. Special Needs Mum says:

    My caffeine-fuelled life has been halted by the doctor banning me from it due to palpitations.. aaargghh!

  2. Erin says:

    “Sometimes I need to be realistic about my limitations and acknowledge that I cannot in fact do or accomplish everything. At these times I need to take something off of my plate (metaphorically speaking or perhaps not) and practice setting limits for myself. I need to make time to breathe – and live in the moment – and appreciate the things around me… instead of striving to give more – share more – be more…”

    “Sometimes I need to take a deep breath… and again… and just keep breathing deeply…”

    - Good advice! May I quote you?

  3. “Sometimes I have all of the difficult and challenging parts of a task completed – and I am really not all that interested anymore. The challenge is handled and completing the mundane parts still needed to finish up are boring, and my motivation drains away.”

    I can totally relate to these two sentences. If I can easily finish a project, I’ll just move on to something else. Caffeine does not help me. It destroys my concentration. My hyperactive mind keeps me going way too fast already and more stimulant puts me over the edge, and sometimes it makes me very irritable (you would not want to witness that).

  4. Haha! You could have written this about me – from the almost deliberate lack of sleep, through losing motivation when the challenge is over, to failing to eat properly. I have had hypnosis to help with the motivation part (which really, seriously, helped), but the rest I still struggle with daily. Your comment about realistic, I think, is the best advice. I am getting better at this. Thank you for the reminder :o)

  5. Leah Kelley says:

    Oooohhh… I’d be interested in hearing more about the hypnosis. That sounds interesting!

  6. Pingback: A conversation with my Dad: Buffers, Limits, and Approximating Perfection | Thirty Days of Autism

  7. Pingback: Managing Overwhelm… The Beauty and Utility of Lists | Thirty Days of Autism

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