This two-part strategy for dealing with overwhelm isn’t rocket science by any means but I wanted to share it with you today because lately I have felt a little scattered and going through these two steps this morning has helped me to feel more grounded – and hopefully they will you too.
Step 1: Write
Write every single thing down that is running around your head in terms of what you need to do. If it’s both work and your personal life which is weighing you down then split it into two distinct lists.
You can do this on paper or I use the free tool Asana, simply because afterwards it’s so easy to add dates or they even let you mark things ‘today’, ‘upcoming’ or ‘later’ which can be really helpful when you start to differentiate what needs to be done first.
After I have drained my poor head of all those things I was expending energy on trying to remember, there is an immediate sense of feeling a little lighter. You then need to go through and sort into 3 sections. Urgent, This Week and This Month (anything else that is bigger picture with no urgency mark What Can be Pushed Back and deal with it on another day). Go through and either sort it into those three categories or actually assign some dates to the tasks.
If you find some things that will literally take five minutes to do, then tackle a few of those right now. That will give you a sense of achievement and you will actually be able to cross items off your list. For example, I had a couple of things which had been taking up head space for at least a week. I just needed to fill in some forms which needed to be sent off in the mail. I got off my chair, filled them in, put them in an envelope and they are now stamped and ready to post later. What the Actual Fluff (not swearing as small bunny ears are present) – I had allowed that to weigh me down when it was easy – super easy in fact!
Step 2: Tell Perfection to Go Take a Hike
The next step is to take action – even if it’s not the action that is going to win you a perfection award.
Sometimes things just need to get done. Yes they can be tweaked later but better done than still in your head, driving you to distraction.
So work through the list and GET THINGS DONE – go on just do them. Once you start I promise you will get on a roll and you will start to feel better about life in general. You will rise from the valley of despondency of how you “are always procrastinating” and you will start to feel much, much better!
Tackle some of the easier things first, this helps you to gain momentum and sometimes you won’t even know the time is passing and before you know it several, yes several, things will be done.
This happened to me earlier and in fact I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I totally missed the warning on my laptop that the battery was low and in the end it just shut down. Yes I lost a whole sales page I had written, but do you know what, I actually felt quite proud. I, Alison, had vanquished overwhelm. Vanquished it so good that even my laptop couldn’t keep up with my productivity levels 😉
And you can do it too. Go on, start writing that list right now.
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