How to deal with overwhelm
Recently, at a workshop for coaches, we were discussing tips on how to tackle overwhelm. It is a common theme with clients, and even I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the work that I put on my plate (although I am starting to get over it!).
Nine top tips for tackling overwhelm
If you you haven’t used something in a while - throw it away. Don’t hold on to a thing you are not using just because you like it. For more information, research 'minimalism' and Marie Kondo.
Be very clear about the structure of your day. Doing this will help you to stay focused and productive.
For all you do for others, take some time out in the day for things that bring you joy and peace.
Do what is urgent first and save distractions for later. For example, I am choosing to continuing to write this piece despite the texts beeping on my phone. It's a scientific fact that multi-tasking actually drains the brain!
5. Manage your social media time
Don’t be driven by the fear of missing out. Ask yourself "Why am I doing this?". If you find yourself getting uncomfortable with the time you spend on social media, take action and cut down on it. Designate time slots of 30 minutes for emails and social media scrolling three to four times a day.
6. Use the 'Pareto Principle'
The Pareto Principle says to devote time to activities which require 20% effort to give you 80% result, rather than vice versa. Ask yourself "Which of the tasks I carry out produce the best results?".
7. Apply the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique says to choose a task, which is small and achievable, to be done in 20 minutes. Set aside time for it. Work on the task without distractions until the alarm rings. Then, put a check on your list of done things. Reward yourself with some unstructured activity, such as a coffee break, calling a friend, relaxing, etc. Then, go ahead and set another timer for another task. This way, you are productive while also training your brain to do single tasks with focus.
8. Cut off from things, people, and situations which overwhelm you
This might seem unimportant, but sometimes a certain piece of music, an argumentative person, or too loud a party can overwhelm us. If we can identify which situations overwhelm us, we can teach ourselves to steer clear of them.
9. Boundaries with family members and learning to say 'no'
For many of us, family is the closest, and we tend to do things for them without a question. However, if you slow down to think how your family commitments are eating into your own productivity and creating a vicious cycle of overwhelm, because you forgot to say 'no' to your partner, friends, or even your kids, you will see phenomenal change come out of it. Remember, boundaries are your friends, and it is okay to say 'no' without feeling guilty.
I hope this helps.
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