Do you go through each day feeling bombarded by too much to do and too little time to do it? Do you feel worn out by the end of the week and want to just chill in front of the TV or do something mindless to relax? If so, you may be living in a constant state of overwhelm.
Given the pressures of work, home, and family, it’s no wonder you may never feel caught up with even a moment to call your own. It’s during these times that you need quick ways to cut through all the messages from the world (and those you’re telling yourself) so you can make the most progress with the least amount of angst and anxiety. Here are four quick tips to help you.
Notice your focus
Many times we become overwhelmed because we throw everything on a list and then think we have to do it all RIGHT NOW. We plunge into Get It Done mode without focusing first on what to do now and what can be done later. To break out of the panic of RIGHT NOW, take a moment to decide what needs to be done immediately and what can wait. By using this focus on now vs. later you can go from being mentally scattered to blasting through your list with a purpose which will help you feel you’re making progress and not just spinning your wheels.
Sort to-do’s by should and must
I’ve written about this before (link here), but it is important to start making the distinction between what you “should” do – what you and others expect you to do – and what you “must” do. Musts come first. Musts are things that drive you forward with burning passion. Musts are non-negotiable. Knock your musts off your list first and then look at your shoulds. As you look at your shoulds, ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t do those things at all. You’ll know by how you feel what a should and must is, so let those feelings help guide you to what absolutely has to be done and what you may not need to do at all.
Set limits with yourself and others
One of the big reasons many of us stay mired in overwhelm is that we don’t take time to set limits with ourselves and with others. By setting healthy limits and boundaries first with ourselves, we honor our time and energy which keeps us healthy and mentally sharp. By setting limits with others, through conversations and careful choices around what we do each day, we continue that honoring and build a foundation of respect, commitment, and self -worth. Take a step back and ask yourself where you can set better limits with yourself and others each time you’re feeling discouraged by having too much to do.
Use your energy wisely
The first three tips all lead to this one; use your energy wisely. Though we all have the same 24 hours in a day, each of us will use those hours differently. In order to get the most out of your hours, think about the best uses of your time and energy. Where can you do something that will save you time and energy in the future if you do it now? How can you kill two birds with one stone so to speak? How can simplify what must be done so you can do it more efficiently? How can you use creativity and think outside the box to solve a problem? Lastly, think critically about each thing you’ve told yourself you must do and ask yourself what would happen if you spent only a minimum amount of time on it? What would happen if you didn’t do something at all?
Feeling overwhelmed is an inevitable part of life but it can be managed. Using these four tips, and four more I’ve included in the freebie link below, you can cut through chaos and get back to a place where you’re running your life and it’s not running you.