Keep Out of the Frustration Zone

When was the last time you got out of bed saying, “I can’t wait to feel overwhelmed today? What a great day for chaos to reign!”

We just don’t say those things. Few folks plan to struggle with organization and order. Yet, we all have days when we feel like the roof is caving in. Days when the house is a mess and the family is out of sorts. Days when we run ourselves ragged just trying to keep up.

Cruising forward with our current series,  today’s message is a definite sanity saver.

Avoid the Free-For-All-Frustration Zone.

What is this? Surely you don’t have to ask. You know those dreaded moments when nothing goes as planned and you think that life can’t get much crazier? Those are the times we are smack dab in the black hole of the Frustration Zone–and it can quickly become a free-for-all.

1. Don’t wait until The Last Minute.

  • Last-Minute-Itis is a state of mind and it is a bad habit. Believe it or not, we can learn  a practical little trick called, Planning Ahead. Planning ahead is the great antidote for Last-Minute-Itis. When you’re in the Frustration Zone, it can be a challenge to make time to plan, but it is time that puts you back on the sanity track!
  • When it comes to paying bills, preparing  assignments, packing for trips, getting the kids out the door, or any of the other countless tasks in our lives that run on time schedules, putting things off until the last minute puts you in the…free-for-all frustration zone. Best not to go there if you don’t have to!

2.Watch out for the tendency to Put it Off, procrastinating on tasks and decisions.

Ouch–it is humbling to write about areas that I struggle with. I’m often tempted to put off things that I don’t have the energy to deal with at the moment. It’s helpful to learn to recognize the difference between procrastination and making a choice. For example, never bring up a touchy subject for a quick discussion at bedtime when everyone is tired. Choosing to wait until a better time is not procrastination–that’s wisdom.

However, there are many tasks and decisions that we procrastinate simply because we don’t “feel” like doing them at the moment. Unwilling to make a decision, we put things off. I speak from  experience when I share the truth that procrastination usually lands us in the Frustration Zone.

3. Avoid trying to do One More Thing before it is time to leave.

  • One More Thing is another bad habit that often creates frustration. The problem with squeezing in one more thing, is that it eats up any margin for the unexpected. I don’t know about your life but the unexpected routinely visits my house.

Case study: this is how my day has gone.

I had plenty of time this morning and all was going well. Working on an assignment, I decided to get one more section done. Working up to the last minute, I headed out to the car, right on time. Key in the ignition.

Key won’t turn.


Fiddle with the key and the steering wheel five or six times, just to make sure.

I get out of the car and get back in–as if that is going to make a difference. No go.

Because I waited until the last minute, when the unexpected happened, I had no margin to solve the problem without being late. Fortunately, my neighbor, Jessica, came out at just the right time. Being the car-savy gal that she is, she told me the trick to unlocking the steering wheel. Presto, I was on way and made it to work on time. But not without a visit to the Frustration Zone, which is never a good way to start the day.

One last observation about the Free-For-All-Frustration Zone.

It is hard to get out of the frustration zone once you’re there. The rest of my day has been a long series of things not going right. Set backs. Inconveniences. Aggravations.

It is 3:30 and I am still in the Frustration Zone.  I take a deep breath, choose to laugh, and say a prayer for patience and sanity. I press forward until I make your way out…of the Frustration Zone!



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