The biggest change that you can make to help you with overwhelm is your mindset. Your thoughts dictate your mood, which dictates your actions. There is no magic bullet.
But, I do want to share some practical advice that is beyond, stay positive. Because, that just isn’t helpful when you are in the midst of a whirlwind. These tips will help you through specific scenarios of overwhelm.
1. Micro Steps
When you are dreading a specific task, project, or to do, this is a great way to take your emotions out of the equation.
Start by writing down all the steps for the task. Get specific, and detail every phase. Then create a chart with three categories, or more, for the task. There will be To Do, In Progress, and Completed.
You may have other categories, depending on the project/ task and its needs. The list of todos you have created will start in the To Do category. As you start working on the To Dos they will make their way to each category till they are completed.
When you look at the map of tasks it is easy to see what needs to be done, what you are working on and what you have already accomplished. If the project isn’t moving along, you can easily spot what is stalling you. Do you need to start a new task in the To Do category or continue working on a task that is in the In Progress category.
This is a great way to get started with a some small simple tasks, to limit your overwhelm. I like using this for tasks that feel very overwhelm but have to be done.
Do you wake up and become overwhelmed before you have really done anything for the day. You know just getting ready will be time consuming because of the clutter, the mess, the laundry, and papers everywhere.
Our spaces impact how we feel. When we let things (from mail and dishes to laundry and old hobby supplies) build up we are constantly distracted.
Take the time to go through your closets, your hobby supplies, your kitchen and get rid of what you aren’t currently using. If you have clothes that don’t fit, get rid of them. If you want to lose weight you can always go and buy new clothes later.
Get rid of the stuff that you say you will use at some point. Like the scrapbooking supplies you bought one time, because you thought it looked cool to do. If you don’t use it now, or have signed up for a scrap booking class that starts in the next 3 months, it is time for it to go.
Most of us live with a lot of “stuff.” Stuff that we wouldn’t notice was missing if someone had taken it. Clean out your space and fill it with only items that make you feel good and that you use.
Physical clutter impacts the work your brain has to do. Visually, your brain is trying to process everything it sees, and you will think about how those pants are for work and should be hung up, that dish needs to go in the sink, that random bill on your nightstand needs to be paid, the running shoes you kick through haven’t been used in 2 weeks and now you feel bad because you haven’t run in 2 weeks.
I do not like cleaning. But I love a clean room that holds items that I love and use on a regular basis. The emptier space is freeing. Think about what you room you can start decluttering.
3. Establishing Work Boundaries
We all have different types of jobs, environments, demands, and work hours. But, we should know our jobs well enough to know how the ebbs and flows work.
Your work cannot be the only aspect of your life that defines you. You need family, hobbies, friends, alone time, exercise, and everything else that makes up life.
Establishing some hard boundaries for work will make conflicting priorities easy to decide.
This can be as simple as saying I arrive every day at 8am and leave every day by 6pm. When I make plans for the gym, a friend’s birthday party, or a night out, I keep those commitments, and notify work that I have plans.
Maybe you will commit to not check work email on Friday night and Saturday day. Maybe you make the boundary that during work hours you check your email only 3 times a day.
Within the scope of your job you can set healthy boundaries, that allows you to give 100% while you are at work, but also time and space for you when you have it planned.
Boundaries for work can be difficult to maintain because you want to succeed and move up. But, if you aren’t taking care of your needs and continually feel conflicted about choosing your priorities the stress will have an impact on your work.
Boundaries will benefit your work product as much as they benefit your whole being.
4. Figure Out How Big Your Plate Is
Some of us think we can take on the world. We continuously put more and more on our plate. It is great, we feel empowered and like rockstars. We get things done and keep moving forward.
Others of us feel that we get one more task, project, or to do beyond our daily maintenance of ourselves and work, and everything feel just like too much.
We all have different plate sizes. We all can take on different loads and that is okay. The important part of this is to realize just how much you can take on without being overwhelmed.
This can be challenging when you want to join a new group, or finally get to enter into a new project. You have to know whether there is room on your plate to do. Saying no now, will prevent overwhelm later.
Know what is already on your plate. Know how big your plate is and how much it can actually handle.
Seriously, do not compare. The constant overwhelm, stress and anxiety that you will feel doesn’t benefit your life. Being content and happy with what you have said yes to, being able to show up and give 100% to those projects only fuels your well-being and your character.
5. Plan and Prep For the Next Day
Giving one day a week or two days a month to prepping and planning will leave a lot of the tasks that always will need to be done, assigned to a specific day.
Preparing for the week would include doing laundry, making a shopping list, figuring out what meals you will be having, and preparing the food for next week.
Planning is making appointments, budgeting for the next 2 weeks, planning for future events, and researching vacation options.
When we know that every Friday evening is prepping time, then certain to do’s and stressors just fall away. You know that the groceries will be bought on the way home. Laundry will begin once you get home. Meals will be prepared for next week while laundry is going.
The fact that you needed more milk will be taken care of on Friday evening. You don’t have to worry about when you can cram in an extra trip to the store, it is planned and is happening. This also works for doing amazon purchases, Costco runs, mail drop offs, and anything else that usually has to go on repeat every month.
Plan for the days when these tasks always get done and there is no need to stress over when you will do them. Prepare for the coming week and you don’t have to worry about what to eat, what to wear, or how much extra spending money you have.
Planning and prepping can save a lot of time, money and worry. Your future self with thank you and be able to focus on work and relationships.
This was a lot to take in…but, some of this might feel too little to late. That is okay! Sign up now for a free 30 minute coaching session. I will help you walk through your overwhelm, come away feeling less stressed with a better perspective.