By Jodi Milner

Jodi Milner author/bio pic

Nothing brings greater satisfaction than crossing things off of a to-do list. However, nothing is more rage-inducing than wanting to do things and feeling overwhelmed by the hugeness of all that needs to be done. Toss in managing small people, and you’ve got a formula for creating a mommy breakdown.

Today, I’d like to bring it all back down to one simple truth – you can only perform one action at a time. You can only think one thought at a time. You can only have one conversation at a time. Yes, there might be dozens of things that you need to be doing, some more complicated than others, but you can only complete one task at a time.

slow down

Does that mean you might run out of time before you run out of tasks? Yes, it’s possible. The number of hours in a day won’t change just because you haven’t finished yet. Don’t beat yourself up about this. You did what you could with the time that was given to you. 

Work toward moving through your day with intention

Being intentional isn’t some crunchy new age practice. If anything, it’s quite possibly the most practical thing anyone can do for themselves to relieve feelings of stress and overwhelm. All being intentional means is to focus on one thing at a time and not shift back and forth from one activity to another. 

If you are watching a movie, you’re not also browsing Facebook. If you’re sorting through your email, you’re not also watching YouTube or TikTok. If you’re creating your daily plan, you’re not also trying to cook breakfast. 

By focusing on one task at a time, not only will you finish that task faster, but it also allows you to sink in and enjoy the process of working on and completing something. When you rush through things or try to double them up, like trying to help a kid with homework while cooking dinner, it takes more energy to switch back and forth and it makes both tasks harder.

By focusing on one task at a time, not only will you finish that task faster, but it also allows you to sink in and enjoy the process of working on and completing something.

The next time you’re tempted to rush, or to do several things at once, challenge yourself to slow down and choose what’s the most important thing to get done and focus your efforts on that. Then, choose the next most important thing, and the next. Not only will you have more energy, but you’ll find the tasks more rewarding as well. 

What I discovered while being more intentional when journaling

Ages ago I attended a meeting where a lady shared how she was able to overcome some of her most difficult life obstacles by journaling. Me, being a mom of three kids who all have unique challenges, found the idea compelling. I picked up a composition book and started writing. Originally, my goal was to fill one page, front and back with what problems kept wandering through my mind and then free-write questions and whatever solutions presented themselves. 

When filling those two pages stretched from a 15-minute activity, to a 20-minute activity, to a 30-minute one – all while not actually writing more, I realized I was letting myself get distracted. So, I set a timer. Whatever I wrote in 15 minutes, was what I wrote for the day. I also told myself that it was okay not to try to write as fast as possible, but that it was better to write slower as it gave my brain time to work. 

The first time I tried journaling using a timer, free from distractions, and intentionally writing slower, I finished filling the pages before time ran out. And, it was more enjoyable, not to mention far more legible.

Discussion Question: What’s one thing you’d like to spend more time doing?

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