It’s okay: you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. It’s not your fault that there seems to be so much to do. The reality is though that nothing will change unless you do.
Next time you feel overwhelmed, try this:
Close your eyes and think about that familiar sense of overwhelm.
Notice where you feel it in your body. Is it tension? Is there a colour? Is there a shape? What feeling or fear lives in that space?
Recall the earliest time you can remember having that feeling.
Come back to your current age and looking back at that earliest age, what would you tell that self to help her/him deal better with it?
Next, move forward in time to when you are 90 years old. Have that 90 year old help you and coach you as you are now.
Coaching yourself can work with some people who can ‘time-travel’ and provide themselves the wisdom which we all have. For others, to change you either need to re-frame how you see things or adapt your personal leadership practices.
I’m focusing now on the latter.
I notice that a lot of people who feel overwhelmed a lot get so confused they don’t have a clear plan of action. Everything is important. Everything has to get done. And less gets done than is added to the to-do list!
What are you trying to prove by trying to do so much?
Here are proven practices that you can implement to start getting more control over your workload.
- Write down the 3-6 most important tasks for the day in order of importance. Most important could be deadline driven eg you promised a client some work by tomorrow, or it could be impactful eg a set of articles for your PLR store that you can offer for sale. You need to be discerning. If you can’t, any 3-6 will do! Just write them down – but stop at 6!
- Start the first task on the list and work on it uninterrupted until it is done.
- When task 1 is finished, move to task 2 and complete that uninterrupted
- Continue through each item on the list. If you underestimated the time it would take to finish a task, either break down the task further or let your list bleed over to the next day. Any incomplete tasks are transferred to tomorrow’s list or you decide they are not as important.
This sounds simple yet for chronic overwhelmers this is challenging!
- Do not second-guess yourself once you have written your list.
- Do not change priorities mid-stream.
- Stick to the task you started until completion or until a natural break.
- Beware of distractions, interruptions and time-wasters – make a note of when they happen then go straight back to the task. This is about retraining yourself to stay focused!
- If you find you can’t proceed on a task because you need more info, stop working on it and add the new task to tomorrow’s list.
When are you going to start?