You know those times when you have so much to do that you don’t even know where to start? Yeahhhhhh. It’s been one of those kind of weeks. I am completely inundated with actual work, rework, odd errands and nagging tasks, requests for small favors, and even fun events currently. I do admit to keeping myself pretty richly scheduled as a general rule, but it really does feel that often – when it rains, it pours. Although there are many things on my plate which are important and/or urgent, I have been feeling overwhelmed lately which is leading to an uncharacteristic and paradoxical level of inaction almost to the point of paralysis. I really like to work at a “marathon pace,” well in advance, slow and steady, with plenty of time for revision and refinement along the way, but this week seems it seems like I am constantly lacking motivation. And that procrastination can only lead to one not-so-nice thing – playing whack-a-mole and trying my best just to fight fires. It’s not a great feeling. But thankfully I know that this too shall pass and that I am hardly the only one who ever struggles with feeling overwhelmed from time to time.
I’m trying to be someone who glorifies general “busyness” (which is a plague in our world these days), but since I am not the only one who has bouts of feeling overwhelmed, I thought I would share some of the ideas and truths that I am trying my best to remind myself in times when I am feeling a bit deluged.
- Do it NOW – it’s generally better to get something going than to get it perfect.
Often the first step can be the most overwhelming, but once you take it, the momentum often builds. I recently had to write a series of 15 short, but relatively dense essay questions with a 300 word limit each (OH THE HORROR!). I sat delaying for a couple of days struggling to get going, but in the end decided that I would set a timer for 5 minutes per question and just write whatever the top things that came to mind where in that time, without editing myself. It was inspired by my daily 5 minute brainstorm sessions, and it worked better than I could have expected! 5 minutes was basically just the right amount of time to capture the high level outline and more key or salient points and it usually ended up within the word limit already so I just had to go back through to make small edits and adjustments from there.
- Know your WHY.
Knowing your priorities is a pretty obvious way to determine what should be done and in which order, but for me at least, it’s much easier said than done. It has taken me virtually my entire life thus far to learn how to prioritize. But I think I have gotten much better in more recent years by applying a strategy quite similar to the “why” endorsed by Simon Sinek in It Starts With Why or the “ultimate concern” described by Angela Duckworth in Grit. By learning more about myself and what types of things will invoke positive experiences and meaningfulness for myself and those around me, I am now better able to determine whether the things that I am doing or which present themselves are aligned with those highest level values and goals. And I just have to accept that although I would love to do everything, sometimes even great opportunities are not right for now and sometimes even great opportunities are not right for me.
- And my ultimate favorite, Voltaire’s admonishment – “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
As a recovering perfectionist and achievement oriented person, I have to constantly push myself not to let me anxieties about making a mistake or even failing prevent me from trying or getting started in the first place. I was generally a very good student my whole life, but when I was in seventh grade we had to make a book illustrating the gods and goddess of Greek mythology along with some of their icons, animal mascots, and areas of power, etc. I LOVED the project. I worked on it relentlessly, in and out of school at the expense of everything else. Literally, I was so overcome by my obsession that my little sister joined me in making her own and I was thrilled to be able to teach her all about it all. I worked on that stupid little book for weeks, long past the due date still unsatisfied with the final product, so much so that I never turned it in. I failed the assignment that I had spent more time and effort on than probably anything else that entire year! All because I wasn’t able to let go of the quest for unattainable perfection. Although many years have passed since then, I think of this painful experience to remind myself of the lesson to be learned. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
Another way that I try to employ to keep my cool when feeling overwhelmed? I continue to stay the course in terms of keeping myself well nourished with healthy and delicious foods rather than “treating” myself to a mess. I know that stress eating something which I’ll regret later on is NOT going to help resolve anything and will only make things worse. It’s the greatest of all the gifts that Whole30 has given me – food freedom from using food in less than healthy way or falling back on bad habits in times of stress that later leads into a vicious cycle of guilt or shame. Besides, when your food tastes as good as this Whole30 Blackberry Marinated Steak with my Crispy Smashed Potatoes – what else could you ask for?
- Steaks, whichever cut you prefer 4 each
- Blackberries .5 cup ( 60 g)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil .25 cup (60 ml)
- Coconut Aminos 2 TBSP
- Balsamic Vinegar 2 TBSP
- Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste
- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED SIDE: CRISPY SMASHED POTATOES (recipe here)
- Place the blackberries into a small jar and muddle them slightly to just start to break them apart. You don't want to overdo it - they shouldn't become mushy!
- Add the olive oil, coconut aminos, and balsamic vinegar and top with a lid to give it a good shake to combine.
- Pour half of the marinade over steaks in a shallow dish, making sure to coat evenly and refrigerate for ½ an hour - 1 hour.
- Meanwhile heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C
- Once the steaks are ready place them in the skillet for about 2 minutes per side to sear and then transfer to the oven to cook until desired doneness is reached.
- Plate the steaks, topping with the remaining marinade and definitely enjoy with the Crispy Smashed Potatoes!