I am feeling it – that feeling of just too much. Too much to do. Too many deadlines. Too many balls in there air. And while I coach clients and offer keynote sessions on managing overwhelm, I’m feeling too caught in my own stuff to know what I know…so here’s a refresher for me (and perhaps for you). And yes, I did pick up The Power of Thoughtful Leadership to help me remember:
Let the little things slide – Right now, at my house, the bed is unmade, the laundry is unfolded, and there are dishes in the sink. Right now, in my office, there’s a pile of magazines that need to be looked through, a pile of papers that need to be filed, and a pile of expenses that need to be entered. Right now, on my to-do list, are many documents to be edited and a full email inbox to go through…and none of that really matters. These are the little things that I normally do to keep my life calmer and more clutter-free, but there simply isn’t time right now and I have to let them slide. And forgive myself for not keeping up with my own standards.
Plan and prioritize – There are urgent things that need to get done and there are important things that need to happen…and sometimes they’re the same things and sometimes they’re not. When I remember to plan and prioritize, I spend the time thinking through what is really important and what really needs to happen – whether or not it’s urgent – so that I actually get done the things that matter. The other things? Well they go back to my first point. I simply have to let some of them slide.
Go slower – It seems contradictory to go slower, but I actually get more done that way. When I rush and run, I risk making mistakes and missing important details. When I go slower – slow and steady as the tortoise would offer – I reach the finish line with my tasks accomplished and more of my sanity intact.
Take quiet time, even when I don’t have it – Part of my overwhelm may be in my head, and part of it certainly may be of my own making. I find that when I carve out time – even five minutes – to pause and breathe, my overwhelm seems to lessen. It again seems contradictory to give myself more to do when I already have too much, but when my new to-do is space to do nothing for a minute or two, I find more space to handle everything that has overwhelmed me in the first place.
Give it away – Sometimes my overwhelm is directly related to my inability (or unwillingness) to delegate tasks. Again, even though I coach others to do differently, I sometimes find myself holding on to everything to somehow prove to someone (maybe myself) that I can get it all done and I am superwoman…only I’m not. When I ask for help and share my responsibilities and to-do’s, I feel less alone, less harried, and less overwhelmed.
Now maybe I can get my daughter to fold my laundry…
How do you handle overwhelm? What are your key tips to staying calm when there is no reason to?
For a free 30-minute consultation on lessening the overwhelm in your life, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.