How to handle getting back in the groove

We are back from vacation and I am looking at mounds upon piles upon loads of things that all have to get done RIGHT NOW. Everything is a priority when you get back in the groove of things. As I have started to work through the piles on my desk, the books in my “to read” stack, and all of the stuff in my various inboxes, my general inclination is quite simple:

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HIDE!!!

I don’t think this is unique to those who suffer from depression, but that does make things worse. When you have a lot of things to do, with many different responsibilities that often compete with one another, it is very easy to go into shut-down mode and not be able to get off the ground.

How do you move forward? Here are a few things that work for me:

1. Recognize what’s going on and be honest about it.
2. Try to gather everything that has to get done into one place, one list, so that it is all there and there aren’t any loose ends niggling at your mind.
3. Try to prioritize as much as reasonably possible what has to get done when.
4. Work it down to manageable chunks of what you can actually DO.
5. Start on the list.
6. Breathe and remember that you are one person, not a god. You can only do what you are able to do.

That’s what comes to my mind. What’s in yours?

14 thoughts on “How to handle getting back in the groove”

  1. 1. Be sure that you put even small to-dos on your list. When you feel overwhelmed by a large task, take a few minutes to knock off a small item to get yourself moving instead of getting stuck.
    2. Try to break large tasks into smaller ones. Then if you can’t devote 2 hours into catching up your bills right now, spend a few minutes sorting them or entering the oldest -at least making progress.
    3. Reward yourself for progress. Even better if you can take a break from ‘chores’ on your list with things on your list you enjoy. Set a timer and read a book on your list for 15 minutes after you’ve labored on a big task.
    4. Make sure that whatever you use to manage your list is setup to allow you to view completed items. When I’m staring at all the things I need to do, it helps to see that I ‘have done.’
    5. Be sure you ksnow how long things have been on your list. If your going to knock off a quick item, it feel twice as good if it’s something that you’ve been putting off for a month!
    6. Put some routine things that you do that are important to you. Even if you don’t need a reminder to read bedtime stories to your kids, checking it off each day reminds you that those things are valuable uses of your time. This may not be a good idea however, if you think you are someone who may let the list become an obsession instead of a tool.
    Those are some of my tips. I’ve been known to ‘pad’ my list when I realize I did something before it made it to the list. That feeling of accomplishment really helps beat down the feeling that I don’t get ANYTHING done EVER.

  2. 1. Be sure that you put even small to-dos on your list. When you feel overwhelmed by a large task, take a few minutes to knock off a small item to get yourself moving instead of getting stuck.
    2. Try to break large tasks into smaller ones. Then if you can’t devote 2 hours into catching up your bills right now, spend a few minutes sorting them or entering the oldest -at least making progress.
    3. Reward yourself for progress. Even better if you can take a break from ‘chores’ on your list with things on your list you enjoy. Set a timer and read a book on your list for 15 minutes after you’ve labored on a big task.
    4. Make sure that whatever you use to manage your list is setup to allow you to view completed items. When I’m staring at all the things I need to do, it helps to see that I ‘have done.’
    5. Be sure you ksnow how long things have been on your list. If your going to knock off a quick item, it feel twice as good if it’s something that you’ve been putting off for a month!
    6. Put some routine things that you do that are important to you. Even if you don’t need a reminder to read bedtime stories to your kids, checking it off each day reminds you that those things are valuable uses of your time. This may not be a good idea however, if you think you are someone who may let the list become an obsession instead of a tool.
    Those are some of my tips. I’ve been known to ‘pad’ my list when I realize I did something before it made it to the list. That feeling of accomplishment really helps beat down the feeling that I don’t get ANYTHING done EVER.

  3. Dear Brother Todd,

    I too have had a life-long struggle with chronic depression which resulted in three leave-of-absences between 1990-2000. Thank the Lord that through the Lord's grace, a loving-longsuffering-grace-filled wife, a extremely supportive and patience congregation at the time (which I served from 1990-2004) and some helpful medication (Zoloft-a serotonin reuptake inhibitor), I have been much, much healthier and happier. I am in the midst of reading your monograph and finding it to be a blessing. I too have found that depression has opened many doors to ministry and mission.

    One comment on this part of your blog: I was introduced to a "productivity" approach by another pastor which has been very helpful. While the creator, David Allen, is not a Christian, his approach is mainly about process. It is called Getting Things Done (which you can google). Very practical stuff that syncs nicely with your above "tips"

  4. Dear Brother Todd,

    I too have had a life-long struggle with chronic depression which resulted in three leave-of-absences between 1990-2000. Thank the Lord that through the Lord's grace, a loving-longsuffering-grace-filled wife, a extremely supportive and patience congregation at the time (which I served from 1990-2004) and some helpful medication (Zoloft-a serotonin reuptake inhibitor), I have been much, much healthier and happier. I am in the midst of reading your monograph and finding it to be a blessing. I too have found that depression has opened many doors to ministry and mission.

    One comment on this part of your blog: I was introduced to a "productivity" approach by another pastor which has been very helpful. While the creator, David Allen, is not a Christian, his approach is mainly about process. It is called Getting Things Done (which you can google). Very practical stuff that syncs nicely with your above "tips"

  5. I praise the Lord and thank you for your book and blog. I believe discussing this once taboo subject will give opportunity for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus to bring healing and peace to many who kept in bondage by depression and anxiety.

    Yours in Christ,
    Mark

  6. I praise the Lord and thank you for your book and blog. I believe discussing this once taboo subject will give opportunity for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus to bring healing and peace to many who kept in bondage by depression and anxiety.

    Yours in Christ,
    Mark

  7. #6 says it all! One other comment though and something I've had to learn to do is to say, "NO" to some things. Which I guess returns me back to #6.
    Theresa

  8. #6 says it all! One other comment though and something I've had to learn to do is to say, "NO" to some things. Which I guess returns me back to #6.
    Theresa

  9. I visited this blog beacuse of an interest in Biblical/faith-full approach of depression, and right away I find an entry that helps… me ! Thank you Todd.

  10. I visited this blog beacuse of an interest in Biblical/faith-full approach of depression, and right away I find an entry that helps… me ! Thank you Todd.

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