The worst that can happen when you have a lot to do, is feeling overwhelmed. It kills your productivity.
Your brain’s fight or flight mechanism is activated with detrimental effects for clear thinking. If you want to get a lot done in less time, you will need to get this pattern under control before it destroys your focus. It’s the greatest paradox. It’s time to do less and slow down.
The Symptoms of Overwhelm
- Never-ending to do lists
- Dissatisfaction about your output
- Discomfort in the body (tension)
- Trying to squeeze in more work late at night
I remember feeling overwhelmed a lot. Studying for a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, an extremely busy social life and a side job to cover expenses. Result; I often found my attention on several things at the same time. Multitasking was going to save my overly busy life, so I thought…
I was under a lot of stress, felt restless when I wasn’t doing anything (relaxing) and often felt dissatisfied with my progress. Now I have clarity, focus, and abundant energy and am now able to fully wind on many moments during the day while being more productive than ever before. Goodbye overwhelm. In 3 steps you will see the real reasons for overwhelm and practical interventions.
Real Reasons for Feeling Overwhelmed
Often though we feel overwhelm ‘when nothing is happening’. We also listen to the ego convincing us we need to do it all. So what can you do about it?
The real reason for overwhelm is a lack of clarity in the areas of your life and business. This means lacking crystal clear goals, a way to track them, and and action plan to achieve them. Here are short term interventions:
7 Remedies to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
- Self-care first! Embrace the feeling.
- Make space. Take a break. Rest yourself (even if just for 5-10 mins).
- Meditate or do yoga without any distractions
- Reduce stimuli as soon and as much as you can (turn your phone off for an hour)
- Stop multi-tasking
- Set boundaries and say no. Limit commitments to others
- Giving up control is the fastest way to reduce overwhelm
What to do to Eliminate Overwhelm for the Rest of your Life
Seek clarity. Know what you want! Highly detailed goals and action plan. If you feel resistance, that’s normal. Many of us rather keep our goals vague. This way we think we cannot fail. But the contrary is true. We are failing all the time. So set goals. Have a strategy to achieve them. The more detailed the better. Decide on where you are going. Define your direction. Don’t deviate. Eliminate distractions. You need to learn to prioritize. You need to know exactly where you want to be in a year from now and how this translates to a quarterly plan, which can be broken down to 1 or 2 week actionable and measurable goals. This way you don’t overstretch yourself but still have a challenge.
Filter everything out that is not important. Learn to focus and do deep work. Have rituals (morning/evening). Install accountability and use a sounding board to strategize (coach or mastermind group). At least half your time should be spent on tasks that are directly increasing business value.
Monitor and measure your results. Without a feedback loop you simply cannot know if you are improving or not. You need systems to track your progress, in order to improve them. The best way to do this is through an external accountability such as a coach, mentor or peer group.
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