It’s a horrible feeling to be overwhelmed. It’s not just the mental paralysis you face from not knowing where to start but the pure frustration of not making progress. Put simply there are too many activities and not enough time, but less of the obvious and more on some of the solutions that can help:
1. Purpose and Priorities.
Clean out the crap and get clear on what you want.
Having a clear vision of where you want to be and why is important. The reason being is when you have a purpose for your work, business or personal life it provides more energy and life to your day. With more energy and purpose you can achieve more. Get that purpose agreed with your manager or boss or yourself so it’s clear what you are working on.
Step 1 – Write out in the present tense exactly the vision of where you want to be in a particular area of your life within a certain time period.
Step 2 – List the reasons why you must achieve those priorities
Step 3 – Concentrate on 3 objectives. For example trying to complete work, have a family life, train for a triathlon and study for your masters in your spare time, and have a life means something has to give.
So be strict with yourself – choose 3 and allow your brain to relax as it is will be more focussed.
Do not take on any extra responsibilities that do not bring you closer to your goal.
So many people are afraid to say no because they fear they will be judged. For example they won’t be considered for promotion. This is something I have learned the hard way, as when you try to spin so many plates they end up coming crashing down. If you have achieved point 1 and are now clear about what you need to do, saying no becomes easier.
3. Rise a little earlier.
Start 30-40 minutes earlier.
We all feel amazing when we progress, when we are moving forward towards to our purpose. By getting up a little earlier you will feel so much better knowing that you have completed a number of activities. If you can rise 40 minutes early and complete niggling little tasks, you free your mind from worry. A free and clear mind is one that can be more productive because it is not worrying about what needs to be done.
4. Time yourself.
One thing I do when taking on the tasks I don’t particularly enjoy is time myself. I set a timer for 30 seconds.
It may be I write a sentence, think of an idea, but achieving that 30 seconds builds momentum.
It’s a technique used to teach children with learning difficulties and to teach people to extend their levels of concentration. It works by increasing the levels of concentration to 40 seconds, to 60 seconds and so forth.
When you’re finding overwhelm tough, prioritise your tasks and use the 30 seconds rule.
Once you are clear on what your priorities are, you need organise when you need to complete the tasks into blocks of time. Below is an example of a tool I use to help me with time management and defeat overwhelm because the day is more structured.
Complete this the night before, it will again free your mind from the tossing and turning from wondering what you have to do the following day.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How many of your meetings can be done online?
How many meetings could be held on your own premises to cut down on your travel time?
How many of your meeting could be completed in 30 minutes rather than an hour?
You could make a table.
Who = Who do you need to meet? Or who needs to carry out the task?
What = What do you need from that person? Or what task do you need to complete.
When = Time of the day when you are going to spend on completing that activity?
Where = Where do you need to meet the person?