OPINION

What to do when you have too much to do

RESIST THE URGE: Rather than juggling, people tend to have more success when they take on one problem at a time.
RESIST THE URGE: Rather than juggling, people tend to have more success when they take on one problem at a time.

Firstly today, a huge thank-you to all those firefighters who have been battling the catastrophic blazes burning across many areas of New South Wales and Queensland.

For many years, I lived up in the Blue Mountains - easily one of the worst places in the country for bushfires. And without the firies ...

These are men and women that words cannot describe.

How can you speak highly enough of the people who are more valuable in this type of crisis than anyone - even the army or the police?

And many - perhaps most - of these firefighters over the years have been volunteers, risking their lives for people they don't even know.

From all of us, thank you.

What also caught my attention last week was that, for the first time, emergency warnings were issued for no less than 17 fires in New South Wales alone.

It was one of the very rare times in life when there really was a multitude of crises going on at the same time.

While we might often say "I've been putting out spot fires all day" as an expression, rarely is it literally the case.

However, how does a person deal with a multitude of problems cropping up at the same time?

What do we do when we have too much to do?

Well, you could go to sleep, or perhaps watch television and ignore all of your problems until life becomes absolutely unbearable.

Or, think of a firefighter.

Even the best firefighter in Australia can only battle one blaze at a time.

Even the king of the water bombing helicopters, Elvis, can only bomb one blaze at a time.

OK, here my big theory. One job is never just one - it's actually two.

If you want to go and exercise, the first job is putting on your running shoes and training gear; the second job is actually doing the exercise.

If you need to knuckle down and study, then the first job is in fact sitting down and opening your books.

And the second job is the actual studying part.

Now, I claim the first job is harder for us to do than the second.

Sounds crazy? It's actually not that crazy if you muse on your past circumstances long enough.

How many times have you put on your running shoes and got dressed up for the gym or a walk, filled your water bottle and not gone exercising?

How many times have you sat at your desk, got out your books and opened them up and not studied?

Of course, it does happen sometimes, but it's pretty rare.

Now, I claim the first job is harder for us to do than the second. Sounds crazy? It's actually not that crazy if you muse on your past circumstances long enough. How many times have you put on your running shoes and got dressed up for the gym or a walk, filled your water bottle and not gone exercising? ... it does happen sometimes, but it's pretty rare.

What's usually the case is that the easier first job is not done because we fear doing the second and actual job.

The easier first job is never done out of our fear for the second one.

The good thing is, once you do the first job, the second job becomes more doable and, thus, easier.

Perhaps that's why Jesus advised: "Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

US businessman W Clement Stone - who donated more than $US275 million to charities - claimed that what made him different to others in business was that he was careful not to rest too long between tasks.

Sounds obvious, but have you ever intended to take an hour's break only to realise you didn't know how to get re-motivated?

Resist the urge to juggle. Deal with one problem at a time.

Twitter: @fatherbrendanelee

  • St Vincent de Paul members are on the ground helping out communities with clothing, food, groceries and emotional support. To help provide support to people affected by the bushfires, visit http://www.vinnies.org.au/NSWBushfires