I’m So Behind I Think I’m First

I’ve recently realized that when I am in a place where I have a lot too many things on my plate at once I have a tendency to become paralyzed. How’s that for self-defeating behavior? When I’m at the point where I have many things I have to get done I find myself stuck and struggle to accomplish any of them.

I like to cross things off of my list. Done. Check. Finished. Finito. Feels good.

When tasks linger too long on my unwritten “must do” list I find myself procrastinating about them and they end up taking much longer than they ought to.  I’ve got to get that done. Haven’t I done that yet? 

I find it difficult to make decisions when I’m at the point of being overwhelmed. (Evidenced by how long it took me to decide on the categories to put this post under.)

Balls get dropped. Sleep is lost. Peace is elusive.

I’m behind. Like the cliche says “I’m so behind I think I’m first”.

It’ll all work out. It always does. Usually when I surrender and admit I can’t juggle all of these balls by myself.

I heard a story on the radio this week that stated that stress is as bad for you as smoking cigarettes is. Something to think about, isn’t it?

I learned when I was in a stress management class many years ago that the key to stress management is learning to relax so you can build your physical and emotional reserves in order to be able to meet the next challenge.

Gerry’s planning a winter vacation for us. Today I’m thinking about laying on a beach and letting those physical and emotional reserves build on up.

Meanwhile, I’m still behind.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Years ago I read a marvelous little pamphlet entitled “The Tyranny of the Urgent”. It changed the way I looked at my own To Do List. Here’s a link to it: http://ebookbrowse.com/gdoc.php?id=40869128&url=59bdddfb55decd810ea1d1180fd0b4c3

    P.S. I love Winter getaways!

    1. Thank you, Kathleen. I’ll pop over and check it out. Welcome home, by the way!

  2. This reminds me of another quote:
    “God put me on earth to do a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind, I’ll never die.”
    Hang in there, Linda!

    1. That’s funny Denise because I’ve been saying something similar for a while now. I’ll never live ling enough to do all the things I want to do so I’ll just have to live forever! It’s not such a bad problem to have, really!

  3. Dear Linda, I find myself getting stress–and this may seem like such a silly thing–by the number of library books (both fiction and nonfiction) I’ve checked out. Lots of times I have as many as 35 library books to be read in 28 days. I’m always reading a book on government/politics/civility and that always takes me longer to read because I need to ponder and there’s no dialogue! So I get way behind. I realize then that the stack of books isn’t getting any lower and I start to feel oppressed by the number. So I go through the books, sort the ones I most want to read, make a list of those I’m going to return to the library unread, and vow I’ll not take out so many books again. Do I live that vow? No way! Peace.

    1. Wow Dee! That’s a lot of reading!

  4. Our family saying is a Pennsylvania Dutch one “The hurrier I go the behinder I get!” For me it is a matter of prioritizing. Family things come first, then I need to decide what I WANT to do versus what I NEED to do!

    1. Good thought, Laura. It’s those decisions between the wants and needs that I find hard to balance sometimes. Too much need and not enough want.

  5. Oh how I can relate, Linda! You are not alone. I’m a list person too and I have lists of lists all over. Your post reminds me of Annie Lamott’s book “Bird by Bird”. Her father tells her brother “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird” when he was overwhelmed with a report that was due the next day.

    So bird by bird, Linda and keep dreaming of that winter vacation!

  6. Ah yes, Kathy. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Just discovered you and especially enjoyed this topic. It’s the story of my life. I too am a list maker all my life. At one time in my life I was a time management for writers expert, giving workshops all over the country at writers conferences. I adapted it from the workshops I used to give when in hospital administration. I started doing that with a book in mind, but never wrote it. My concepts did get me through a lot of writing goals. But later in life, I get overwhelmed with too many goals in a time span no one could do except probably Stephen King. It comes from waiting many years, obligations, illnesses, caregiving–well, just life–to have unlimited time, peace, and little distraction to write what I want when I want. But I overwhelm myself with more ideas than I’ll ever live to write–and they keep coming. (I guess we could do a whole other blog on whether this is considered a blessing or a curse.) I also make priorities but tend to decide to do something else further down the list just because that’s what I want to do that day. Pretty sloppy, huh? I’ve started using the word “intentions” instead of “goals. It works better for me because somehow I don’t beat myself up so much if I have to move some of my intentions to the next month’s work.

  8. Hi Linda,
    Last year I was too sick from cancer treatments to even brush my teeth! This year, as I’m recovering, I’m finding I’m trying to do too much again. Will we ever learn!

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