I started my day yesterday with 101 items on my To Do List. I finished the day with 103 items on the list. I know I worked hard all day, but according to the numbers I did nothing. It doesn’t matter that I accomplished 15 tasks not on the list and resolved several near catastrophes. What mattered to me is that I failed to get caught up, that I actually took a few steps backward and that now my tomorrow is already starting behind.
After a day when nothing goes well, it is easy to be discouraged. To pull the proverbial covers up over our heads and try to sleep this off. Can you relate? In today’s non-stop, hectic world we have all been there, but today I want to offer hope. Here are five foolproof strategies for dealing with the frustration of being behind.
1) Center yourself. Start your day with a few minutes of prayer, Bible reading, and/or meditation. In Psalm 63:1, King David writes, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” David realized that despite the pressing military situations, the political engagements, etc., that he needed to be refreshed by God. No matter how busy he was, he chose “early will I seek thee.”
2) Prioritize. You must realize that you cannot complete the entire to do list in a day. You didn’t get behind in just one day so you are not going to get caught up in just one day either. It is a process. With this in mind, go through your to do list and mark the items that absolutely have to be finished today. These are your priorities. You start with these tasks and move through each one before starting the next item.
3) Delegate. Now that you know your priorities, are there any items that someone else can do? For example, if you need stamps for a mailing, have someone else pick those up. The important thing is not that you do the task yourself but that the task gets finished. Keep this in mind and solicit help from those around you.
4) Accept grace. You have already done so much. You have centered yourself, reminding yourself about what really matters in life. You have prioritized and delegated, resulting in a plethora of items being crossed off your to do list. But the day is nearing an end, and you still have so many items left. What do you do now? You accept grace. You still have a lot to accomplish, but you have done all that you can do to the best of your abilities. You accept that and no longer beat yourself up over what remains to be done.
5) Rest. It is important to finish the day the same way you started—centering yourself once again. The tasks will still be there tomorrow, but for today, you are done. Follow Jesus’s command and “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).