feeling overwhelmed take a catch up day

March 13th, 2008

Feeling Overwhelmed? Take a Catch-Up Day

Like most people, my life is full. Of things. To do. Saying that I am busy is a slight understatement. I have two young children, several part-time endeavors and income streams (taekwondo, this blog, and tutoring, just to identify the main ones) and all of the things that come with managing a household and family. Sometimes my to-do list is so long I can’t be bothered to even add anything to it because it seems pointless, and nothing seems to be coming off it.

A few weeks ago, I got the flu. I haven’t felt that sick in a really long time, as far as energy and ability to do anything more than lie in bed and moan quietly at the indignity of it all. For days. By the time I was well enough to function, the number of things I needed to do seemed like it would literally drown me. I spent a few days muddling through and trying to keep all the balls at least in the air, and then I realized something just had to give, or I was going to fail miserably at everything I was trying to accomplish.

So I declared one day a catch-up day, a weekend day so that my spouse could take over the main child-care duties. For that day, I eliminated anything I usually have scheduled in a typical day that was non-essential (I didn’t schedule myself to tutor or teach taekwondo, for example) and I focused on the many things that had been piling up and set to accomplish as much as I could. I wrote a pile of blog posts that I had been itching to write but couldn’t manage to find the time to do, I did some more behind-the-scenes things in relation to blogging that I needed to finish for weeks now, I worked on the house, on some research related to tutoring, some cooking, some cleaning… in fact, I got about 90% through my to-do list and by the end of that day, I felt amazing. I was mellow, I was happy, I didn’t feel like 100 things were hanging over me any longer – and in fact, I spent plenty of time playing with my kids as well.

I still have a to do list, and I still have things I need to find the time to do. But taking a break from my “normal” schedule for just a day and allowing myself to focus just on the to do list activities and accomplishing them was not only productive, it was energizing, and has helped me to propel that productiveness into the week following and get even closer to caught up overall. Now I have a manageable to-do list that I feel like I have a handle on and can even keep up with on a day-to-day basis. Not that that will last forever, but it is a great feeling to be where I am now.

I think I might have to schedule myself a catch up day once a month or every two months. It doesn’t take the flu for me to slip further and further behind as time goes on after all. It just took the flu to bring that to the forefront this time.

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6 Responses to “Feeling Overwhelmed? Take a Catch-Up Day”

  1. This idea is absolutely brilliant! I often get like this even without kids, but I think I can spare a Saturday or Sunday to plow through the project list.

    Course, I think it’ll be next weekend before I can schedule it. Blah. But thanks for the idea!

  2. Catch up days are absolutely brilliant. I, too, have been feeling overwhelmed lately: three small kids, a blog, and Etsy shop, a networking organization, a kazillion loads of laundry, a vacation… oh wait that’s a good thing.
    I finally had to take the step of backing off from some of my commitments. Luckily my older two kids are in school, but I cancelled playdates for days they were at home, stopped my volunteer activities and deleted hald my email inbox.
    What a difference! I no longer feel so scattered, even though I’m sure I have just as much to do.
    Everyone needs a break from time to time: mine is right now, at 11.30 pm, reading blogs and drinking good French wine!

  3. I need a “catch up day” like, every day. :)

    I feel your pain–you feel like you are juggling a million things and will never get anything done. 4 kids, 2 jobs, a house, pets, etc. I am right there with you!

    Thanks for the genius idea…I just may take a “catch up day” this weekend!

    Take Care



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