Quit Trying to Get Caught Up by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

By meggin@meggin.com
In Women
Feb 1st, 2014

How many times have you said, “This weekend (week, break, Saturday, vacation), I need to get caught up”? My guess is that you have said it a number of times – and it never happens and then you feel even more overwhelmed than when you first said it. Am I psychic or could it be from my own experience that I know this? (Guess door #2).

So What Is the Alternative to Getting “Caught Up”?

Uh…not being caught up.  And we can either feel overwhelmed and horrid about not being caught up or we can try one of the following ten tips:

  1. Recognize that it is impossible to get “caught up” in the largest sense of the word.
  2. Remove that notion from your brain.  “Caught up” is a concept that really doesn’t make good sense – especially for times you are most likely to be saying it.
  3. Instead of saying, “I am going to get caught up,” say, “I am going to make some progress on a couple of projects this weekend (or whatever the time period is).”  You have now made a realistic statement instead of a ludicrous one.
  4. Determine which of your projects is weighing most heavily on you.  It could be getting your house cleaned, putting away your winter clothes, turning your car from a pig-sty to a clean conveyance device, entering business cards into a database, or getting your payroll done.
  5. Acknowledge that you don’t have to do it all.  Some things are more important than others.  Some are less important than others.
  6. Drop those projects, tasks, and commitments that are less important when you are feeling overwhelmed (which is how we feel when we start thinking and saying that “we need to get caught up”).
  7. You don’t have to do it all.  Ask for help, especially if the place where you need help is at home and there are other people who live there.
  8. Choose one small project to tackle.  Empty the dishwasher, delete 50 old emails, straighten up one shelf of books on a bookshelf that has become disheveled, file for 5 minutes, etc.  Just choose one small task to do – and do it.
  9. Make one phone call that has been bugging you.  It doesn’t need to be the one that has been bugging you the most, but it does have to be one that has some reluctance associated with it.  Just one phone call.  Choose one.  Make one.
  10. Notice and congratulate yourself on whatever you *have* gotten done.  So often when we are overwhelmed and thinking we need to get ‘caught up,” we just keep focusing on what isn’t done.  That doesn’t help or motivate us in the least.  So, whether you made one phone call, emptied your dishwasher, took your car to the car wash, or bagged up one set of winter clothes to take to Goodwill, say, “YAY for me!”

What are you going to release from the misconception of ever being “caught up”? I’d love to know.

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