Self Help Sanctum

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When Life Seems Too Much - Prioritize!

Isn’t life wonderful? Like a County Fair with so many attractions and activities all vying for - and demanding - your attention. So much to see, so much to do. The trouble is, you're only human. That means you're limited, with only so much time and energy to give.

It can be overwhelming. And that's why stress and its close relatives depression and anxiety are running at epidemic proportions in the modern world.

So, what can we do about it? How can we meet infinite demands with a finite supply?

The answer, in a nutshell, is to prioritize. We all face more calls upon us than we can possibly meet, so somehow we must determine which are most important, and which we must simply let go.

There's no hard and fast rules for determining what your priorities should be. It all depends on your own unique character and needs a degree of soul searching to discover. Take some quiet time, and (if it feels right) ask your God for guidance.

We all have a number of things that matter to us, and these fall on a spectrum of importance. Your priorities are most likely balanced between those for you and those for others (the best benefit both others and yourself) and it's important to strike the right balance. Don't be selfish, but don't forget to cut yourself some slack too.

Once you have your list you need to set a cut-off point. You can only juggle so much at a time, else everything suffers. Things falling below the cut-off must simply wait until another time.

Don’t be afraid to say no. Unfortunately, pushy people are all around, seeking to take advantage of others. Don’t allow them to take advantage of you. That’s not to say don't co-operate with others or don’t help those genuinely in need, but be sure that you're not simply being used to help others progress at your expense. Saying no can be done diplomatically, but at the end of the day if the other party takes offense that is their problem, not yours.

Among your chosen priorities you need to determine an order of importance so you can allocate your resources accordingly.

The interesting thing about life is that stuff happens, sometimes unexpectedly. So stay flexible, and be ready to change your resource allocation in response to new conditions. You change too. Your priorities change over time, and so do your energy levels.

Review your priorities periodically, but not so often you're unable to focus on anything. At those times you feel overwhelmed it's OK to put lower priority stuff on hold. Recharge your batteries and return to them when you're ready. Conversely, when you’re feeling powerful devote more time/effort to your priorities, or even take on new ones.

Life can be demanding, but never forget you're in control of which demands you answer.

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