‘Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” Pope John XXIII
More and more people are overwhelmed by all the things they have to do. There is a list and another list and lists that have long been buried. Lists upon lists of things to do and they all seem important and necessary to do. It creates a sense of overwhelm and lower energy to do the work. How do you move beyond the feeling of being overwhelmed?
The first step is to define and list all the things that are important to you, things you value and list them in the order of importance to you. What is the most important thing? Is it money, relationships, career, spirituality, family, health, personal development or something else? Do you know what you value, what you place first in your life? What are you placing first in your life?
If you value relationships and spend very little time growing those relationships there will always be a tug towards the values you hold and over time that tug will grow into more than just a tug. When you are living in a way that doesn’t align with your values it is easy to get overwhelmed, frustrated and upset.
What steps can you take to overcome the frustration of being overwhelmed?
1. Write down all the things that are you feel need to be done. All of them, small or large.
2. How important are those things? Do they need attention immediately, in a day or two, or longer (a week or a month).
3. Rewrite the list and put those things in the categorized of immediate, soon, and later.
4. Estimate how long it will take to do the “immediate” tasks. Minutes, hours, or days.
5. Which one is the most important of the immediate tasks to complete now.
6. Do it and get it done.
7. Now, how much time do you have left today to complete those “immediate things”? Will you be able to complete these tasks?
8. What can be re-negotiated? What can you do last?
9. Take a break … 10 minutes, refocus, re-energize, take in some deep breaths. Relax
10. Start on the next most important task.
Now 10 steps may seem like a lot of tasks to do to just whittle down the immediate list to something that is manageable and that is because it allows you to focus on what is the most important right now. Work on lowering the stress by getting things done. Little things create a win and may give you the energy to tackle a bigger item. Keep moving forward through the list. If you get all the immediate tasks done, work on something that is coming up. Prioritize that list and do what you can. Keep removing things off of the list.
It may take some time to shrink the list down but applying effort each day, doing what you can will help reduce that feeling of overwhelm.
If you can’t get it all done yourself, see who you can find that can help you. Is there a friend that could spend a couple of yours shrinking your list. Is there an employee that could take a few of the tasks. Distribute the workload if it is more than what you can do alone.
If the work was given to you by someone else see if you can reschedule some of the work. Get some help so that you don’t get too far behind.
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau