If you constantly feel swamped with everything you’re supposed to get done in any one period of time you’re probably dealing with a lot of overwhelm, I can guess you’re often multitasking, so much so, nothing ever gets finished or if it does it’s a half assed job? You find yourself running between this thing and that thing, forgetting about the first thing then this other thing comes up but you ran out of time to get to the second thing completed on time… (Bet you have so much on your plate you’re not even thinking about overcoming overwhelm just surviving right?)
Gurl you need to calm the f down. What you have here is a problem. A problem created around organisation and focus, with a little bit of clarity shaken over the top. See you’re not setting yourself up for success. You’re not allowing yourself enough time to focus on each task at hand before rushing to the next one. If you somehow make it all work at a standard your happy with and you can rest content each night then applause to you, but if you wish you had some simple tools to help you kick butt read on..
Below are my never fail tips to get the most out of your day. To get through any busy day you need to find calm and focus.
- Take a moment
- Go on
1. Take a moment
Yeah you’re busy I get that. But the most important thing you can do for yourself is to just take a moment. When you are frazzled, feeling burnt out, enraged, tired and exhausted, helpless, maybe you just want to gift yourself a moment, give yourself a moment to deal with the overwhelm.
Find a quiet space, step outside in the fresh air, escape to the lunch room or the bathroom, put your headphones on, whatever, just give yourself some space from all the chaos.
Close your eyes and allow yourself five mindful, slow deep breaths of clarity. Erase the feelings of overwhelm and replace them with peace and calmness.
Next use a simple grounding technique to clear your messy thoughts.
Notice 5 things you can see around you
Notice 4 things you can touch
Notice 3 things you can hear
Notice 2 things you can smell
Notice one thing you can taste.
Now you may step back into your roll of taskmaster and carry on feeling a lot more centered.
Ok it may seem like a dumb thing to tell you but prioritising tasks can make a load of difference to your day and the ability for you to get things done and to the best of your ability whilst on time.
The best way to prioritise your tasks is through lists. Oh how I love lists! I have them for everything and they’ll be gold on your road to overcoming overwhelm! If you are not a list taker than you should be. Do it. Starting today. Begin with a list of all the things you have to get done, for the day and for the week, and all the other crazy jumbled mess in your head causing you overwhelm right now.
Now take said list and PRIORITISE your tasks. I know painting props for your daughters birthday party on the weekend sounds like so much fun compared to the board meeting proposal required by 3pm but don’t kid yourself on this step. Prioritise your tasks by due date and importance.
Once everything is out of your brain and down on paper (or phone or whatever you want to use) you should be feeling a little less chaotic and a lot more organised. You can see right there what needs to get done, you won’t lose track of your tasks and their importance. Now as you go throughout your day and things come up ADD them to your list! Find where they belong in your day/week/year of importance, you don’t have to try and remember them.
Now you know what tasks need to get done and in what order you need to actually do them. Sorry not sorry, my secret gift of overcoming overwhelm does not include not doing your jobs.
But my hot tip here is that when you come to each task on your to do list you do it. And do it well. Dedicate yourself to only that one task and if anything else comes up during that time then add it to the list (unless it’s extremely important). You want to gift yourself the time and effort to complete each of your tasks to the best of your ability, not half assed because you’re thinking of that birthday party right?
Once you have completed that task or as far as you can take it at that moment then tick it off and move on to the next task. Don’t degrade your output abilities by rushing through something when you know you can do it better. Do that one thing you know is important and do it well. Laser focus will overcome overwhelm when you take it one step or task at a time.
As you move through your tasks and daily/weekly routines it’s important to stop and ponder your lists. Make sure you keep or shuffle your tasks to maintain the highest level of priority and output ability. It’s ok to move them around, things change and come up all the time throwing us off course. But utilising the list system you’ll be able to fit the new tasks in right where they need to be.
Now here’s a doozie.. When you reassess your lists and tasks and schedules notice what you’ve actually got on them. I mean really notice. Because people that tend to get caught up in overwhelm tend to be the types of people that want to get everything done themselves. And I’ve been guilty of this too (perfectionism is a killer), we want shit done our way and we think its quicker if we just get in there and do it ourselves right?
Why? Because doing those stupid little tasks that someone else can do is eating into your priority list and your time. Time is gold here. You have overwhelm because you are cramming so much into your days that you don’t have a second to finish everything let alone have five minutes to yourself. So here’s the scary thing you’ll have to do (if you can). DELEGATE! Yes, all the stupid little things you don’t have to actually do – get rid of them. You don’t need to waste time on them. Let go of your silly perfectionist attitude and value your time over whether something someone else can do easily is perfect or not. We are working at overcoming your overwhelm not running for the Guinness World Records in task accumulating.
If it’s something you can’t delegate then consider if it’s actually even necessary at all to do this thing? Where is it on your priorities list? Will something die? Will it destroy an outcome if this little thing doesn’t get done? If no then just get rid of it. Strike it off your list, there, you just got a few hours back.
Sufferers of overwhelm often don’t take care of themselves as much as they should which is also a contributor to feeling stressed, tired and a raging lunatic. When you are working through your tasks like a good little girl make sure your day comprises breaks. I know you have a million things to get done but by NOT stopping and resting and eating lunch or dinner and looking after yourself first you are actually wasting more time. What!?
Yes. Your body will run itself down, making it slower and sluggish. Your effort will decrease, your mental capacity to think will decrease. Tasks will take twice as long and they wont be nearly anywhere as good as tasks completed on a clear and focused mindset. So find that balance, eat when you are hungry, use step one above when you need to clear your mind, take a fresh air waddle when you need to. Whatever your mind and body is asking for supply it. This will keep you running at optimum speed and levels.
6. Go On
Another step to fighting overwhelm is to just continue on continuing on. Often when we have so much on our plate it’s so much easier and simpler to just give up and live with the guilt of not doing the things.
But that won’t get you anywhere but on the couch (I know that does sound good). If you want to step up and kick ass you have to put in the effort. I know by breaking everything down into simply lists will take a lot of the pressure off you but those things still must get done. Each time you action an item off that list your moral will go through the roof. You’re getting shit done like a motherfucker and you’re still breathing – Go you!
Just keep going on and going on. Reassessing your lists, prioritising the tasks and working from a place of focus. Allow yourself that pleasure of knowing your mind is on that one task only at each given moment and not on the million other things that need doing.
The last thing, the most important thing to overcoming overwhelm is rest. Sleep. Working through a million tasks when you are stressed and tired won’t be fun for anyone (look out coworkers!) The emotional attachment you have to getting through each individual task will amplify and when you’re working on dead batteries everything will go pear shaped I can guarantee it, you’ll end up crying in the bathroom.
Stick to those lists work through them and the things that don’t get done, move them to the next day. find time, shift things around until they work for you. Don’t try to battle against the system. Knowing everything has its place and priority will allow you to sleep at night not worrying about ten different things that are half done and when you’re supposed to fit them in to your full day tomorrow.
Go to bed with a clear mind, go to bed satisfied and proud of your work for that day. Never allow yourself to go to bed with overwhelm still on your mind. You can only do as much as you can and when that gets too much, delegate or drop.
I have dealt with overcoming overwhelm in the past and I continue to use these simple but strategic steps in all areas of my life and work. It’s crazy how prioritising tasks on a piece of paper can erase stress so quickly. Yes there’s still a lot to do but having it all written down makes it manageable. And visible. I would love to know if you use or have adopted any or all of these techniques and your own techniques for overcoming overwhelm, drop me a comment below.
Happy wandering x
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