How To Stop Working Like A Squirrel

My dog can’t resist a good squirrel chase. A favorite begins with a stare-down at the bird feeder. The squirrel looks up from stuffing its cheeks, twitches its tail, and it’s on! There’s time for one more greedy grab but the delay requires a super-squirrel escape. The thief crouches, springs from the high porch rail, and finds safety in the branches of a nearby hickory tree. Ahh, if only dogs could fly!

Later, as my mighty hunter naps on the office couch, another unobserved opponent appears and begins what I call the Squirrel Dance. He hops, turns, digs and scampers all over the yard searching for buried nuts. I’ve never seen him succeed.  What I have seen is me, doing the same dance in the way I sometimes work.

When I’m over-stretched, over committed and overwhelmed with projects I spread myself too thin, lose momentum, and accomplish little. Nothing ever really gets done. Maybe the same thing happens to you. If so, give these three things a try:

  • Stop.

Sit down in the middle of the mess and pray. Tell God all about it and then ask Him this simple question:  What do YOU want me to do?

I once heard of a mom so overwhelmed with caring for the kids, housework, laundry, bill paying, commitments at church and school she was about to have a breakdown.  She cried out to the Lord. I just can’t do it all! I don’t even know where to begin anymore. She heard Him softly say, empty the dishwasherOkay, she thought. I can do that. She did, and the success of completing that one task lead her to another and another…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

  • Simplify.

Give yourself permission to do less. Pray about what to keep and what to let go, and then begin to reduce the number of projects you have taken on.  Sometimes I have to say “No” to something good so I can say “Yes” to the best.

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

  • Set A Timer.

This one works really well for me. I set a timer for “x” number of minutes to focus on one project—without interruption—until the timer goes off.

Tips:    Tell the kids they get to do “x” until the timer goes off.

Silence your cell phone / unplug the landline.

Turn off e-mail notifications if you’re at your computer.

Keep your focus on doing just one thing at a time.

“The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither” Confucius, Chinese Philosopher

What do you do to stop the over-stretched, over-committed, overwhelmed merry-go-round?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

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Penny L. Hunt

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