What to do when you don’t know what to do

Overwhelm. Decision-making. Jammed packed schedule and work coming outta my ears. We all get like this, I’m certainly not special. Even good stress is stress. Even picking out fun new tools is a decision (often an expensive one <<Ahem>> Apple store <<Ahem>>).  Growing pains are painful and change is invigorating to the point of overload.

When this happens to me I tend to get all Bambi-in-the-headlights. I get so flustered I don’t know which thing to do next, balls get dropped and the to-do list ends up deep in the drawer. I forget things. Blah blah blah. And I become completly befuddled by the question, “What do I do next?” Here’s what I do.

Chop wood, carry water

Well, the modern day equivalents, at least. I do laundry. It’s methodical. There’s no mystery. (Except for that grass stain on the shoulder of my tshirt. I have no idea how that happened.) Wash, dry, fold. I wash dishes, clean my room, straighten my desk, catch up on filing. Yes, it’s procrastination, but at least it’s productive.


I make one. A big one. I fill a page of a legal pad, and sometimes a few pages. I get tedious about it and list the tiniest tasks. I bullet point and scribble in arrows and draw stars in the margins while I think of the next task to list. The top of the first page is usually very-urgent-on-a-deadline stuff. The rest is a mish mash.

Call Michael

I am not suggesting you call my friend Michael, but you probably have your own Michael. You know, that friend who is kind and supportive and gentle until you just say, “Hey! Tell me what to do!” And then he tells you what he thinks. (Michael tells me to eat the frog.) Even if I totally disagree I feel better. I call Michael for business overwhelm, Greg for massage and general overwhelm. Jaime gets my rants about family and boys. Christina gets all of it. In other words: ASK FOR HELP.

Eat the frog

I choose the thing I least want to do, then I do it. I get it over with. I rip the band-aid off. Usually, by the time I’ve eaten the frog, I’ve forgotten my original malaise and I can hit the list hard. Then things get done.

Play with kids

Holding a baby is magical, right? I can’t think of anything cuter than a kid in a swimsuit running through a sprinkler. Reading the Berenstain Bears to a toddler is cathartic. The lessons are simple and timeless. Be nice. Play fair. Take responsibility for your actions. If you can work in a naptime with the kid, even better. (I understand if you actually have your own kids, this little tip may not work for you. Sorry.)

Suck. It. Up.

Or, putting my Big Girl pants on. Because we need to be the superhero in our own stories. No one is more capable of handling my disheveled juggling act than me.

Notice I have not included ‘Get A Massage.’

More often than not, when my mind is already racing, it’ll just get worse if I’m on a massage table thinking about it. So I make massage my reward. I get my tasks accomplished, and then I schedule a massage. I can enjoy it more that way. 🙂


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