by Elaine Colsten

No doubt you have either over-obligated yourself, or you have wasted too much time when duties were not pressing, or indeed, an emergency has arisen. However, now is not the time to figure out what went wrong; it’s evidently too late for that. (Hopefully, some lessons can be learned from this fiasco, and new habits can be established, but for now, let’s try to help get enough accomplished to “make it” through this day when truly there is too much to do!)

  1. Immediately get some “self-operating” tasks in motion. Do you have a washer? Throw in a load of clothes NOW. Does your oven work? Put something in to bake NOW. (This need not be a cake or anything elaborately prepared; this can be something as easy — and healthy — as sweet potatoes, acorn squash, etc.) Have dirty dishes been “sitting around”? Fill a sink with hot, sudsy water, and put those “yucky” bowls, pans and tumblers in to soak NOW.
  1. Assign some specific duties to others in the household. Even a young child can run the vacuum. A responsible teenager could go to the store and purchase essential items. A live-in invalid mother may be able and happy to fold some laundry (if you ask her nicely and place it in front of her on a conveniently placed table), or she may be just the perfect partner to help label and “stuff” those envelopes which you promised you would have completed for the ladies’ soul- winning meeting today. Though you should not boss your husband, and though he certainly is not in the mood to hear you scream and carry on over how much the church people expect you to do all the time, it could be that he would be happy to do something today which would alleviate your distress. Is he computer-wise, or can he type? He may be delighted to prepare that test which you have in rough-draft form and which you need when you teach your class tomorrow. Is he artistic? He might be pleased to draw a needed illustration on poster board for you.
  1. Boss yourself and reward yourself. Tell yourself, “You will iron five shirts now before you do anything else!” Command that lady you see in the mirror, “You shall not have a snack until you have cleaned both bathrooms!” Determine that you will not call your friend (even with much needed information) until you have reached a certain point of completion regarding several tasks.
  1. Plan what you will do during any “waiting time.” When you know you will be “trapped” in the back room (or maybe downstairs) while your kitchen floor dries from being wet-mopped, or you must wait in a car for a child to finish a sports practice, plan ahead to have with you your Bible, a pen, some 3″ x 5″ cards, etc. You will find this time so valuable as you gain strength from God’s Word, jot down prayer requests that come to mind, and make note of anything on which you should meditate, as the Holy Spirit directs.
  1. Keep all distractions to a minimum — preferably “O” in number. Even if you enjoy music, etc., you may not be wise not to turn on music. Pretend you are an efficiency expert, and increase the acceleration with which you accomplish each task — not to the point of injuring yourself or doing a sloppy job, of course.
  1. Consider any shortcuts which would save you time but would not diminish the quality of the task. Did you promise to buy the table napkins for this lovely shower for which you are a co-hostess? Take some you have on hand; you don’t have to have “Baby Shower” napkins. Are you obligated to provide treats for the church bus route? Sure, you’d love to bake homemade cupcakes, but you do not have time, and you cannot afford fancy goodies from the corner bakery, but this time you could stop at the store which sells day-old baked goods.
  1. If you have a friend who would not be inconvenienced by your request, ask for help in alleviating some problem that cannot be solved by the previous six suggestions. Perhaps she could pick up someone who depends on you for transportation. Maybe your friend has a punch bowl which could be borrowed even though you thought you’d use the pretty one which is stored “somewhere” in the attic.

Get the idea? Too often, after we’ve gotten ourselves into these too-much-to-do predicaments, we overreact and resign the Sunday school class, quit the choir, refuse to say, “Yes,” to any future request for volunteer work at the church, etc. Most of the time we could learn to make better use of each day, walk with the Lord, and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.