Managing Overwhelm: For the Sake of What?

My first video post is inspired by a conversation I had today with a friend. She asked me, “Do you ever feel like you have too much to do?”

Having just written my own long to-do list I could only chuckle and say, “Yes and I’ve learned to ask ‘For the sake of what?” The answer to that question changes, these days my focus is on my business and my family. Sometimes volunteer activities need me, sometimes I just need a break. Every day is different, but the question remains the same: For the sake of what?

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  • Lance

    Ah, that “too much to do” question. Can I relate? Sure. Certain days feel like that. And then, is it “stuff” that matters? That one has been a nagging problem in the past – and to a degree yet today. In fact, I’m currently transitioning out of a volunteer role that I should have done a couple of years ago. Why did I stay? Because it felt like I should, even though I didn’t want to at all. And that’s a very good feeling right now.

    So, your question here is really, very good, Stacey – the question of “for the sake of what?”. Especially when you give it more than just lip service…

  • Jenny

    I have felt like this so many times and I know I’m going to again very soon! I do community theater and in a matter of 3-4 weeks I will be simultaneously working on 4 shows at once. Many people will think, or flat out tell me I’m crazy, especially when I try to juggle rehearsals, but I will do it because I think I have to, or better yet I kind of want to in a sick way. I will have to keep your suggestion in mind though for the next time I’m thinking of commiting myself to so many things!

  • Hunter Nuttall

    I saw your tweet announcing your first video post, and I just had to come by to congratulate you. I did my first video post not that long ago, and I know a few others who recently crossed the video barrier. But you actually look like a pro already. Great job!

  • Peggy @ Serendipity Smiles

    Hi Stacey!

    For the sake of what is a great reminder for me when I get overwhelmed by my overwhelming to do list. Lately, I’ve been looking at mine and asking the simple question, “does this take me closer to living my passion or farther away from it?” (thanks to Debbie Ford for that great question!!)

    Loved your video post :-)

  • Stacey Shipman

    Lance – I honestly believe the “shoulds” will kill us. Good for you for letting go of that volunteer activity. I have a few of those I’m working on as well.

    Jenny – 4 shows! Wow!! If you want to and can manage it great, like I said to Lance, the shoulds are what we need to watch out for. Good luck with your shows!

    Hunter Nuttall – Hi and thank you! About 12 takes for a 90 second video, not bad I figured for my first time. :-) I had fun and I’m looking forward to the next one.

  • Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord

    Great video blog! (Wait, that’s a vlog… Ha!) I like how you’ve framed this up for us, and given people a way to assess their intentions behind having items on a to-do list. “Should” is a dirty word… I learned that about five years ago, and it’s helped me to put things in perspective. I’m still grateful for that!
    Our intentions, or the “why’s” behind our actions are key, as you’ve pointed out.
    I loved listening to this!

  • Tess The Bold Life

    I love Peggy’s question of “Does this take me towards my passion or further away from it.” However I could have a list a mile long that went towards my passion…and the question remains the same…for what?

    On the other hand I could ask that same question for the time wasters in my life…all this for what? It works either way and in the end it all comes back to priorities and balance. Which is the topic you’re the expert on and why you are so good at the answer! I’m writing this down on an index card.

    One more thought…each time I’m tempted two put my two sense into a conversation or offer unasked for advice I could use the same question…all this for what? Now you’ve got me thinking!

  • Tom Volkar / Big Link Rally

    Love that question because it puts us right were we need to be in a point of responsibility. It increases awareness while having us question our motives. Thank you for this short and powerful message.

  • Stacey Shipman

    Hi Peggy, Thanks – and yes, I like your addition of values and passion – after I recorded it I thought of exactly those things!

    Megan Thank you! Should’s are dirty, I still have some, will be a lifelong process I assume to get them out of my vocabulary!

    Tess – I do the same thing. sometimes I write the words and never speak them because I asked that same question – for the sake of what – to hear myself speak??

    Tom – Thanks – Awareness and personal responsibility are key, I believe. Everyday working on both.

  • Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching

    Hi Stacey — thanks for this — that’s something I’ve been thinking about lately as well, that the whole idea of needing to find a “work/life balance” (or for some people it’s a “family/life balance”) is really about trying to balance our “shoulds” against our “wants.” And the fewer shoulds we buy into, the less we have to worry about the whole balance thing.

  • Karl Staib – Work Happy Now

    “For the sake of what?” of what is a great way to really break down how important the need is. A lot of times we feel overwhelmed and really all we need to do is simplify and cut out the crap that we don’t need to spend time on.

  • Jodi at Joy Discovered

    Hi Stacey,
    I like it that you posted via video–it’s fun to see you and hear you! This is a great question you ask yourself. I do this, too. Usually, I let my day’s to do list go wild and then when I see that it’s way too long, I give it another once over with a question similar to this in mind. I usually can reduce my list to 2/3 of its original size that way!

  • The Everyday Minimalist

    I really love the video idea.

    As for keeping my To Do list under control, I just pick 3 priority things to do each day, and somehow.. they all get done :)

    If I make it too hard and overwhelm myself with a huge list, it never works out.

    • Stacey Shipman

      The Everyday Minimalist – Hi and welcome! Pick 3 is a rule I go by, too…I was going to use that in a separate post – you beat me to it! Three is manageable and when all is checked off, feels good, too.

  • Stacey Shipman

    Chris – I absolutely agree. Balance is about being present. And if we’re not where we want to be and are instead where we “Should” be then we’re always reaching for the want and that throws us off balance.

    Karl – Cut out the crap…yes, again I think it’s all about the “should’s”.

    Jodi – Thank you! Yes, if we pause and take a second look sometimes we notice things aren’t as important as we once thought!

  • Evita

    Hi Stacey

    What a million dollar question… “do I have too much to do?” – well over the past 2 months gosh, have I felt like that, and then I told myself – no, no more! I am the one putting all these tasks in my life and like you said, most of them are “should” tasks. There is actually very little “must do” tasks.

    So as October is winding down and I just came back from a little vacation I vow to take things differently. I don’t want to have a constant “to do” list. Can one get rid of it entirely? Probably not, but one can definitely shrink it and simplify it and that is what I intent to do :)

  • Katie West/The Levity Coach

    My to do list was a mile long this weekend…and following true to my philosophy. I went out and played and played with my family realizing this was actually the best and most important part of my “to do” list. When I came back to do the work, I was able to get it done in what felt like record speed. It was a great reminder to myself not to add things to the to do list to feel “effective” just go out and have fun and do it!
    Congrats on the video!

  • JMS

    That’s a great question to ask yourself to prevent from “shoulding” all over yourself.

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