First Things First: Why Getting Ahead of Yourself Can Leave You Behind

She was going to explode…I was sure of it.

I was captain of my high school’s speech team (neeeerrrd!), and I often stayed after school to practice with my teammates.

One day, a group of us were rehearsing when my teammate T grabbed her water bottle quickly.

“Oh my god, I’m SO thirsty!” she exclaimed.

Suddenly, she got this weird, worried look on her face.

“But I have to pee too!”

Then T did the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. She threw her head back and began gulping down her water while at the same time hopping around and squeezing her legs together in the classic “gotta pee” dance.

Finally, she slammed her bottle down on the nearest desk and ran out of the room as fast as she could.

My friend S shook her head and said, “That happens to me all the time.”

What in the world? Didn’t T know that when you’re thirsty AND you have to pee, you should always go pee first?

I can assure you that this bizarre behavior is not limited to teenagers. I know plenty of adults who don’t understand the concept of “first things first.”

Sometimes we’ll feel so overwhelmed by too many choices, too many projects, or too many distractions, that we’re unable to move forward.

Where do we start?

By blindly charging ahead without considering what things are truly most important for our well-being, we could end up causing big problems for ourselves down the line. Or even end up in a worse situation than when we started.

Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, take breath and remember first things first.

“First Things First” Examples

  • Eat something before a job interview (saves you from the embarrassment of a grumbly tummy)
  • Wash your face before going to sleep (saves you from breakouts)
  • Feed the dog before sitting down to your family dinner (saves you from a begging pooch)
  • Prioritize your to-do list before starting your workday (saves you from wasting time on unimportant tasks)
  • Talk about where your relationship is heading before moving in with your partner (saves you from heartbreak…and some might argue that they should put a ring on it first!)

By taking a step back and asking yourself, “What’s the very first thing I need to do?” you can begin to make progress in a logical way. You won’t have to backtrack later to do an important step you missed.

Remembering “first things first” will also help you appreciate your accomplishments even if you think you’re moving slowly.

I’ve said it before—baby steps count! And I’d rather you take teeny tiny baby steps than burn yourself out.

Do you remember “first things first”?

In the comments below, let me know your best tips for avoiding overwhelm and focusing on your most important tasks.

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  1. HeatherS on September 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Love your picture Sage! And great article, as I prepare for a major life change at the end of this year, your advice is greatly appreciated. Hugs!

    • Sage Grayson on September 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Haha! I have a lot of fun taking goofy pictures. Thanks for stopping by, Heather! 🙂 *big hugs*

  2. Tinfoil Tiaras on September 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

    It’s time for me to refresh my memory with your work to-do list prioritizing blog post because that is my biggest struggle! And like Heather I will finish a workday and realize I haven’t peed once because it would take too much time- pretty pathetic eh?

  3. H&K Style Journey on September 26, 2012 at 4:58 am

    I am guilty about the peeing thing at work! When I am focused on getting something done, I forget to go to the bathroom, lol. I just love your take on keeping these issues humourus and still getting to the point. Heather

    • Sage Grayson on September 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Haha, I forget to pee when I’m working too! I just get so caught up in what I’m doing.