I have a problem saying no – and delegating. And, just like everyone else, I have too much to do and too little time to accomplish all that I’d like to do. So, I have a new mantra when it all becomes more than a little overwhelming: “Just do the work.” I also try repeating said mantra when it’s a job I hate, like house cleaning. I am a horrible housekeeper; I read Proverbs 31 and think, “There’s no way my husband will call me blessed if I don’t dust this month.” Yes, I said month. I’m getting better, but in true procrastinator/perfectionist style I avoid doing something I know I don’t like and don’t have time to do well. Housekeeping chores fall into this category more often than not.
While lack of time is a small factor in why I don’t do everything I want to and should do, there are some other major factors involved, namely, depression and a major lack of will power. On the days that I would rather sleep or avoid people altogether, it is tremendously hard to find motivation not to give in to the depression. Why bother moving at all if it’s just going to be a hard day? Just do the work. If I can do one thing, however small, then I can regain some control over the self-pity. Some days, scooping the cat litter box is my only major accomplishment. I can now claim that with great pride; in spite of feeling like I could totally drop out of my life, I managed to check something off the list. I can just do the work and let the feelings straighten out later. For me, depression is very much an emotional reaction to stress and grief, and I feel more comfortable now knowing that it will pass. I am finally starting to recognize when I am reacting emotionally and not rationally and giving myself time and space to vent before I try to tackle the problem. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been a quicker journey through the grief if I had asked for medication for depression. There was a fairly extended period (over a month) when I was depressed and could not work or function normally sometime after the fourth miscarriage. I think if that were to happen again, I would try medication and counseling instead of just counseling and boot-strapping. On the other hand, when I consider medication as an option now, I know I’m just trying to shortcut the process to avoid dealing with my feelings. At any rate, when dealing with the occasional mild depression, just doing the work can lift the fog enough to get moving again.
Self-discipline is my other major malfunction. I am really bad at sticking to it, whatever it is. Sometimes this is a function of depression and my perfectionist streak, but mostly it’s that I’m really bad at following through with something I don’t want to do. This also means I’m really bad at sticking with the things I want to do because I’m usually playing catch-up with work or housework that I put off doing, causing an overall breakdown of time management. This is where just doing the work keeps me from feeling completely overwhelmed. If I do a little bit at a time, then I don’t feel panicked when I take a break to write or crochet or dig up snakes in the yard (yet another reason to avoid weeding…). I’m a work in progress. Eventually, I’ll be perfect, but then it won’t matter to me because I’ll be in heaven, doing the work of the saints – praising God and knowing as I am known.