When Things Feel Scattered

By Leo Babauta

Often when our lives have a bunch of things going on at once, and multiple things to manage in each of those areas … it can feel really messy and scattered.

This kind of feeling of messiness can cause us stress, and make us unhappy with our current situation.

We might feel like we’re doing things wrong. We might feel like we’re trying to keep our heads above water, and struggling with it. We might feel helpless, like there’s not much we can do about it.

If you feel scattered like this … I’m here to say that this is a very common feeling, and you’re not alone. Many of us feel scattered, overwhelmed, like our lives are messy and out of control.

There are some tactical things we can do to feel more under control … and there’s a mindset shift (or practice) we can do to get good at feeling peace in the midst of this kind of chaos.

Let’s talk tactics first, then talk practice / mindset shift.

Tactical Methods

If your life is feeling scattered, there are some tactics that might help. I’m going to share some of them, and invite you to test them out to see which ones help you:

OK, that’s enough of tactics! Don’t try to take them all on, just pick one and give it a shot for a bit, to see how it works.

Mental Shift: Practice with the Feeling of Chaos

We often think the problem is with our outer circumstances – we have too much to do, everything is messy! – or we think the problem is that we’re not good in staying on top of everything.

But there’s another approach, rather than changing external circumstances or getting better at doing everything right.

The approach is to learn to find peace with chaos.

It’s an acceptance that our lives will always be a bit chaotic, turbulent, messy. Our lives will never be in order. And so we can accept this chaos as not just a part of life, but the experience of life itself. This chaos is how life feels.

And then we can learn to relax, and find peace. Imagine finding calm while out in a stormy sea. Learning to love the storm itself.

So here’s how I suggest practicing with this:

If you practice with these sensations of messy chaos throughout the day, you can learn to get more and more comfortable with the chaos. You can learn to relax, and flow with how things are.

This doesn’t mean you should never get organized, or simplified. It means that you can find peace in the middle of just about any situation, with practice.