If you are busy and overwhelmed you don’t have time to read a blog post about being overwhelmed, do you???
Here is the Cliff Note version of my Unconventional Guide To Ending Overwhelm:
- Don’t Do Anything: Step away from your project, take a break, a shower, get some exercise or just a change of location.
- Get More Overwhelmed: Figure out everything that needs to be done by making a huge list then what you can eliminate and then what is highest priority
- Make Your List Longer: By breaking your tasks down to smaller pieces: take your high priority tasks, break them down and schedule a time to actually do them.
There… overwhelm solved!
Curious about how these three ideas can actually lead to less overwhelm? Read on:
My definition of overwhelm, comes when I know I have SO MUCH to do, but I am not really sure what I have to do, or when it will get done.
So how do we fight that crazy overwhelmed feeling?
#1 Don’t Do Anything
I think our brain is like our computer. When we get too many tabs open, our computer can’t keep up and we get the spinning beach ball of death. Our computer just can’t do anything. Sometimes you just need to stop everything, give our computers (or our brains) a chance to catch up… and then shut down some tabs!
Move to a different spot in the house, or pack up and head to a coffee shop; sometimes that is enough time for the beach ball to stop spinning.
When we get super busy it is easy to think; “I’ll skip my run and finish this project.” But research shows that the adrenaline and endorphin released during exercise can actually calm us down and lead to more productivity after. So, get out for that run or do 10 minutes of yoga, or walk to the coffee shop down he street and get some exercise with your change of location.
I recently heard that the reason we come up with our most brilliant ideas in the shower is because the water pressure hitting certain acupuncture spots on the top of our head. I love this idea! I also think the shower is a chance for us to step away from our project, shut down the noise, relax and just think.
#2 Get More Overwhelmed (for a moment)
Once you have taken a break or changed locations, you are ready to come back and actually get some of the things done. But what exactly needs to be done?
You know me, and you know that any advice I give on just about anything is going to involve making a list. Start with a huge brain dump of everything you need to do. This can actually be momentarily more overwhelming, but I find that knowledge is power and once you can see exactly what needs to be done, you can create a plan to tackle it.
Prioritize and Schedule
Once you know everything that needs to be done, do a quick look over and see if anything can be outright crossed off.
Next, divide your list into home/family, work/volunteer and personal. Then rewrite each list in priority order. Look at the last 3 things on each list. Can you eliminate these lower priority tasks all together? Can someone else do them?
When I have a lot to do, but I don’t want to eliminate anything, just deciding I don’t have to do it now takes the pressure off. Write those tasks on a post it note and stick them on your calendar page for next month. You’ll know they are there, but you don’t have to worry about them now.
Eat the Frog… or don’t
Have you heard the saying “eat the frog” when it comes to productivity? It basically means do the hardest task of the day first, like eating a frog, everything else will seem easy. Generally I think this is a good idea. I try to set my 3 must-do things each day, then, if I have time for more, I can return to my main list and pick the next task. Quality over quantity.
However, sometimes I think NOT eating the frog is the best way to fight overwhelm.
Sometimes you just want to cross lots of stuff off your list. Go for the low hanging fruit. Go for quantity over quality. All those little tasks can really start to weigh you down. Perhaps take one day to get as many of those random to-dos off your list. Make that call, pay that bill, sort out that drawer. Sometimes just making your overall list shorter is a huge overwhelm fighter.
#3 Make Your List Longer
Now that you know exactly what you need to do, have eliminated some things off your list one way or another, it’s time to actually tackle that list.
Break your tasks down
Often we feel overwhelmed because our tasks are so big, we feel we won’t ever have enough time to complete them. But all projects are made up of many smaller tasks. If we take a little time in the beginning and break out these smaller tasks, then we can see more clearly exactly what needs to be done and we can tackle them in smaller chunks of time. We can also see more realistically how much there is to do and how long it will take us.
So, next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try a more unconventional approach and don’t do anything, get more overwhelmed and make your list longer… it just might solve your overwhelm after all.
Still Feeling Overwhelmed? Join me for a FREE call Thursday 3/27 at 10 am (pdt)
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A Busy Moms Guide to Getting It All Done
Overwhelm comes when you are not sure what needs to get done or when it is going to get done. Let me help you get clear and Find More Time. Free Webinar this Thursday at 10am (pacific)
1. Get clear on exactly what needs to be done.
2. Wrangle the time you do have
3. Simple ways to have less to do