Overwhelmed? Here's how to get over it right now.
“I will never get this done.”
We’ve all been there. Your mind is racing, you can’t focus, you don’t know where to start. It feels like you’ve got a years’ worth of things to do, and you feel totally inundated.
It doesn’t have to be like that, and this blog post is going to put a stop to it, right now. You ready?
The first two steps are things that I DEFINITELY would have skipped, back in the day. They’d have felt too abstract, woo and pointless for me… but I want you to do them, and you’ll see that they do serve a purpose.
Firstly, take a deep breath and acknowledge that you are feeling overwhelmed.
Secondly, go somewhere physically different to where you normally work. You only need to go for a moment, but it will help. Walk round the block, make a cup of tea, sit in your garden, go to a coffee shop. Give yourself some mental distance. If you really can’t leave your house or office; close your eyes and clear your head for two whole minutes.
Now let’s fix it.
Overwhelm is caused by a lack of clarity. There’s a whole host of reasons that it can be triggered, but the solution to it is to find that clarity again! Without it, everything feels different. Your problems feel closer and bigger, and your solution feels harder and further away.
Now, grab a piece of paper and write down everything that is on your mind. Everything. That means if you’re thinking about a client, or a problem you can’t solve, or a to-do list, or picking up the kids at 3pm, or remembering to buy bread, or booking the car in… everything goes on this piece of paper. It doesn’t need to be neat, you’re just freeing up your head space.
Now that you’ve got everything down, move the paper aside for a second and remember why you are doing this. What is your motivation? If you’ve got a vision board, get that out. I keep a list of ‘whys’ on Pinterest and in my phone notes, and they are perfect for this. Read through and remember your big why, the big reason that you want this - and that can be anything from loving what you do, to getting your dream house. Different things motivate different people!
It’s time to match both things up. Get some coloured pens or highlighters, and give your different motivations a colour. Then match your to-do list to your motivations. Most things should fit - you should be able to link the actions to making more money, or achieving something, etc.
Some things might be ‘life admin’. They may not match your goals at all! That stuff, sadly, still needs to be handled. If you’ve got a lot of this, decide when to do it and allocate time for it. I give myself until 9am in the morning to wash up, tidy, make calls, order things… that means that it doesn’t impede on my working hours, and if there’s not much to do and I can get started early, it feels great!
Some things might just feel like things that you should be doing. In that case, look at whether you can confirm any ROI from doing them. If you’re putting pressure on yourself to record a YouTube video a week but they’re getting no views, you might be able to take that off your plate for now, or at least alter it. If you’re spending hours engaging with people in Facebook groups and getting nothing from it, stop.
Now, for the tasks that are left, I want you to ask yourself a few questions, and score the answers. 1 means No, 4 means Yes.
Is this a priority?
Is it the best use of my time right now?
Do I have everything I need to get it done?
If you’ve got the option of getting help, add a fourth question of “Am I the right person to do this?”. Some tasks can be outsourced easily, and while it’s a business owners’ prerogative to want to do them themselves, the weight off your mind will be worth it!
Give everything a score. Now you’ve got a to-do list, ranked in order of importance. Get those high scoring things done. Set yourself a 20 minute timer, and smash it. If it takes longer than 20 minutes, split it into phases. Tick things off.
Take back control
This might be the hardest part! Get the priority tasks done. Move your distractions out of the way, focus on just getting that list ticked off, don’t overcommit. If you don’t have enough hours of the day to fit it all in, do the lower-scored things tomorrow. Stressing won’t buy you more time!
Between tasks, give yourself a three or four minute break where you can get a drink, take a bathroom break and listen to a song that pumps you up. That’s non-negotiable!
At the end of the day, treat yourself. Give yourself half an hour for a walk, play a video game, watch something on TV. Do something that makes you happy, and lets your brain disconnect from work and all the things that you need to do. Cooking a great meal tends to help me! Or an evening in the pub.
You’ve got this.
Overwhelm becoming a familiar feeling? Stressing over your content? Join my free five-day content sprint challenge; and we’ll deal with content and overwhelm and so much more; in quick, impactful bursts. Sign up here!