I’ve been feeling overwhelmed for the past 2 weeks. There just seems to be so much going on, creatively, personally, and professionally. When I feel overwhelmed, I can get into a state of analysis paralysis, where I just turn things over constantly in my brain. Which doesn’t help to solve anything or get anything done. Then I can go into a feeling like “why me?” or “why do I have to deal with this?” Which is clearly just a spiral downwards, the exact thing that overwhelm always leads to in my case.
So, to stop this story from getting any sadder, I need to make that overwhelm quit its game, take its bat and ball and go home so I can activate my positivity mindset and be proactive about attending to the things making me feel overwhelmed. But that can be better said than done, so in this article, I’m going to include my strategies for getting through overwhelm!
One. Write it All Down
The archenemy of overwhelm is getting things written down on paper. Do it now. Get that magical creation known as an A4 page and fill the flipping thing with everything that is currently constipating your mind. Just write it all down, it doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to be in the perfect order either. Get it all out on paper where you can see it. There might be a lot there, or perhaps there is less than you were expecting, but at least now you can eyeball it and make a plan on what to do about these tasks. Things are always scarier when they are zooming around your temples, I promise.
Two. Pick 3 Things
Now you have your humungous to-do list, don’t go trying to bite off more than you can chew! You are not meant to do all of these things at once, calm down cowboy. Just pick 3. You might like to pick the three most important ones or the 3 most urgent ones. Then today, do those three and tick-them-off! Woohoo for you! Look at you go, decreasing your overwhelm as we speak. I’m not being sarcastic by the way. This is big stuff here. It is for me, anyway. Now tomorrow, you will pick 3 things again from your mega list and do those 3 things and tick them off. Rinse and repeat, sista.
Three. The Timer Technique
If some of the tasks you need to complete are particularly offensive in some way — offensive to your sensibilities I mean — like they are super boring or a bit hard or something like that, well, have I got a tactic for you! I’m talking about the timer technique. All you do is you say to yourself, I will work on this task for x amount of time, and after that, I will take a break / do something fun. I like to work in sets of 30 minutes, so I do one task for 30 minutes, then the next task for 30 minutes, etc. Sometimes I take a break, or sometimes I alternate between boring and more fun tasks. I find this really works.
Four. The Stinker
And if you have a stinker of a task that you can’t stand the thought of doing, then put the timer on for 5 minutes and do just 5 minutes of it so you can get a start. No doubt you will work for longer than 5 minutes once you get into the flow, and you might end up doing a full 30minute set before you know it!
Conclusion. Get it Out
I think when it comes to feeling overwhelmed, the main cure is to get all your thoughts out on paper. When it actually comes to attacking the tasks that need doing, choosing just three a day is an attainable goal. Using a timer can help you tolerate boring or less pleasant tasks so you can tick them off your list with a flourish! Go get ’em, tiger!