Overwhelm – it happens to all of us.
The key is to recognize when you are in overwhelm and have a simple, quick way to get yourself out of overwhelm.
For several weeks I had this growing sense of overwhelm taking over my life.
It felt like the list of to-dos and obligations I was committed to kept piling up faster than I was able to complete them. And the bigger the list became the less I was able to get accomplished which only made the overwhelm problem more, well, overwhelming!!
While talking with my coach and complaining about my overwhelm and how my life felt like it ground to a crawl, the advice he gave below was excellent… and in less than 20 minutes the overwhelm was gone (and has stayed away!)
What Causes Overwhelm?
For me, I find overwhelm builds up when I try and juggle everything going on in my mind.
Gradually over time the projects, todos, commitments and priorities (just like a computer with too many programs running at once) exceed the “RAM Memory” of my brain and it starts to crash.
Then, when I start to feel I’m behind on a project, or out of communication with somebody, or not able to take action on an important priority – the frustration creeps in and I start mentally “beating myself up” for not being effective and productive. This then causes more overwhelm and less effective action which adds to the problem!
The Simple 20 Minute “Being In The Zone” Exercise
After I finished “complaining” to my coach, he gave me this simple exercise he called “Being In The Zone”
FIRST list out all of the major “things” going on in your life. This can be in your business, your health, relationships, or major “to-do” projects in your life.
A couple I had (outside of business) were:
Exercising, Eating Healthy, Selling My House, Friends, Learning
In total I had 15 items I listed out.
SECOND I rated each one either a YES or NO if I felt I was on track with that area, and if no what was the reason(s) that caused me to rate it a no.
So for selling my lakehouse, I had not followed up with leads from my advertising campaign and also needed to research potential agents to list the property with.
I ended up with only 4 out of 15 items rated a YES – meaning 73% of the major things going on in my life were off track!! No wonder I felt overwhelmed and stuck.
THIRD, for each NO I wrote down what action(s) I could take to move that area forward.
For selling my lakehouse, it was simple – write an email to send to the leads offering them a special offer if they buy it before I list it with a realtor, and also research the top agents in the Lake Texoma area.
By this time the vast majority of the overwhelm had melted away because I was able to get all of this “stuff” I was managing in my brain that maxed out my “Mental RAM Memory” and put it into writing and then look at it and do something about it.
FOURTH, look at the list of to-do items you come up with and identify any action items you can delegate to somebody else to do for you.
By asking myself that question I realized I didn’t need to find and research potential agents myself and instead delegated that to my virtual assistant to do it for me.
FIFTH, prioritize the list of action items on which are the most important and/or significantly reduce the “overwhelm” feeling that has built up and give yourself a deadline to complete those most critical items.
I ended up with 4 key actions to take and I gave myself the deadline of Sunday before bed (I did this exercise over the weekend).
None of these action items were very hard or complicated, but they were the causing by far the greatest level of frustration that I was falling behind and not making progress with anything.
It was such a relief to realize how easily and quickly I could get out of the crippling feeling of overwhelm, when just 20 minutes before it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders and it would be almost impossible to get caught up.
And even though I REALLY didn’t want to complete all of those actions on Sunday (the brain is a funny thing), I made the commitment and forced myself to cross each item off my list (along with ample procrastination in-between each).
That this last Sunday and this week has been RADICALLY different – the overwhelm is gone and replaced with focused attention and consistent productive action that has kept my life moving forward clearing more and more of the action items I identified off my list.
MOVING FORWARD I’m making this a weekly activity each Sunday, to look at my list of major priorities in my life and rate them to see where I’m off track and what would get me back on track.
And if you are feeling overwhelm, even though your brain will most likely “fight” this as “more work” on top of everything you already have to do – stop and take 20 minutes right now to do this simple activity and see if it makes a difference for you too.