Overwhelm. You have SO much to do and are SO up against a deadline, you feel paralysed with stress and anxiety.
Have you been there? Are you in such a situation right now?
This was the case for one of the participants in my recent mastermind meeting. Her question and cry for help:
“What do I do? How do I deal with it? I get barely anything done. I hired an assistant to help; but now I have twice the work because I have to teach her how to do it, be available to answer her questions AND check her work when it is done!”
Leaving the assistant aside, the mastermind team came up with these 7 strategies:
- Feelings of anxiety, stress and paralysis are caused by thoughts. The more your thoughts hinge on ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I have so much to do’, ‘getting an assistant has doubled the work’, the more the feelings of overwhelm will be true for you. Recognise that thoughts are just thoughts; not reality. You don’t have to believe them.
- Decide up front what is good enough. Perfection is not an option. No one has time for that.
- Make a list. Brain dump. Everything that is going on for you. Personal, work, relationships, money, that leaky tap in the bathroom. Everything you feel responsible for; that needs sorting out; that is contributing to the sense of overwhelm. Empty your mind. Get it on paper.
- From here you can compile a to-do list or add to your already long list. At least you will have EVERYTHING that requires attention in one place.
- Prioritise. DO NOT work from your master list. Every day, choose the three to seven most important things that must get done that day and write that on a new list. Work from the SHORTER list. It helps you to stay focused on what is REALLY important and you won’t get distracted by the long list.
- Make a plan. Take each item on your to-do list and break it down into smaller tasks. Estimate how long each sub-task will take, then double the time. Things take longer than you think. Use this information to plan your day.
- Take time out. That’s right. Get away from it all and do something totally different, so that when you get back to your work, you come back refreshed and re-energised. Go for a walk, dance to a favourite song, do some colouring in, re-pot a plant, paint a fence panel…
In the mastermind, we are encouraged to evaluate all the suggestions and then pick one or two take-away items to act on and implement. Our hot-seater particularly liked the idea of the brain dump and making a short to-do list every day.
My all time favourite strategy
Breathe. Rhythmic breathing. Deeply into your belly. In for a count of four, hold for a count of four. Out for a count of four, hold for a count of four. Do that at least three times. If you can extend the count to six or more, even better.
Over to you
Imagine yourself in her shoes. Which strategies would you choose? Tell us in the comments below.
What are your own go to strategies? Go on, share your wisdom in the comments below.