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Feeling Pulled in A Million Directions

Dec 21, 2022 | Decision Making, Obligations, Tasks

Key Takeaways:

  • It is normal and natural to feel pulled in a million directions. Our world requires a lot of us.
  • There are many ways to approach an overwhelming list of tasks and obligations. This is usually hyper-personal and will likely change over time as well. 
  • Do you know how you handle the busy/ier seasons of life? How in touch are you with how you evaluate what needs to be done? Scroll for some opportunities to check in with yourself.

Are you familiar with the phrase “I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions?” While hyperbolic in nature, there are important reasons why this has become a household saying in our society.

Our world requires a lot of us. There are structural obligations such as paying taxes, jury duty, paying off loans; there are community-based obligations such as keeping your neighborhood clean, participating in local politics, engaging in education; there are interpersonal obligations such as keeping up with long distance and close proximity relationships, caregiving, dating; and there are individual obligations such as taking care of our health and wellbeing – just to name a few of the directions in which 21s century humans find themselves pulled in.  

In terms of how people approach balancing all of these obligations, there is quite a spectrum. Often, people will evaluate their tasks and obligations in terms of urgency, desirability, or efficiency. Urgency being how quickly a task needs to be completed – this can be an internal or an internal sense of timeline. Desirability being how much you want to complete a task – evaluating how it will feel or what it will bring to you and how worthwhile that is at the given time. Efficiency being a measure of do you or do you not have all the necessary tools to complete this and move on. 

It is important to acknowledge that it can feel paralyzing when you are being pulled in a million directions, and in spite of the urgency, desirability, or efficiency evaluation markers, it might feel impossible to know how to begin. Below are some questions and reflective opportunities for when you are feeling stuck and unsure how to approach the tasks:

  • How do you evaluate your obligations? Is it one of the ways that is named above? If so, explore that. If not, work to uncover your personal rubric. Build your self awareness.
  • Spend time with your Nos. Recognize that not everything on your list of to-dos will get done, or can get done in the moment. Allow yourself to let go of certain items. Allow yourself to delegate tasks to others. Allow yourself to say no if your capacity has been reached.
  • Remember that some tasks are short term and some are long term. Work to separate tasks that have a shorter timeline from tasks that have a long term timeline. For longer term items, interrogate if you can break them down into shorter term tasks so that they feel more manageable. 

While this time of year can feel unparalleled in terms of obligations and tasks, feeling busy is the reality of many at multiple and variant points in the year. Utilize these reflective opportunities as a way to start to be in a better relationship with yourself and your task list. If you feel like you cannot manage the tasks in your life, consider reaching out to a therapist and learn about new ways of finding balance in your life.

Rachel Levy, LLMSW

Author: Rachel Levy, LLMSW

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*This blog was created with the help of Anton Babushkin

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