How to handle responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed


The thought of me taking on the responsibility of a huge task completely overwhelmed me. Ten years ago, right around the time I decided to make a twelve step recovery program a part of my life due to alcoholism. I was basically unemployable and profoundly afraid of living life on life’s terms. So when I was presented with a very important duty, task or deadline I sweated profusely, my mind scrambled, I shook and shivered as if I was coming of a bender which was nuts because I was sober at the time. Before you knew it I was in bed with the sheets over my head like a five year old that saw the boogey man for the first time. I had no choice, in order to become a productive member of the human race I had to live, which meant taking on responsibilities that would give me stability.

One day when I was reading one of my self help books on recovery, it was suggested in one of the chapters to take baby steps meaning the practice of accomplishing small projects rather than pursuing larger ones that overwhelmed me, after the completion of the small project's I would move on to larger ones. This suggestion paved the way for me and I have followed it several times during these past 10 yrs, here are a couple of examples of my small projects.

2 Projects that paved the way for me

Project 1 My mother once bought me a beautiful vine plant and although, I always loved plants they always died on me because I always forgot to water them. So I decided that would be one of my small projects. Everyday I took care of this plant watered it, fed it, and watched it. I mean I would sit in my balcony sometimes for two hours at a time just staring at it. Sounds ridiculous huh? But for me it was a huge accomplishment to take pride and responsibility in something. It meant the start of a new and positive behavior in my life. Today my vine plant is beautiful.

Project 2 My mail gathered in the corner of my table like a paper mountain for weeks at a time. Do you know how upside down It literally made my life by simply not signing a form or filling out questionnaire that was mailed to me? Something as small as filling in the blanks of a few questions seemed like a huge task. And so I knew I had to make it another one of my small projects in order to bring some kind of serenity in my life. I made the decision to tackle important documents or any for that matter the minute I received them.

Through out my experiences with these projects I began to notice how simple it was. I also felt proud and empowered, I sensed more order and less chaos in my surroundings. I figured if small changes can alter my life for the better, imagine what I could do if I got things done on a regular basis.

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