The definition of Overwhelm: “feeling completely overcome in mind or emotion.” Maybe we have too much on our plate, maybe the to-do list is ridiculously long, maybe we’ve packed on too many “shoulds” in there. We stress about feeling stressed! But with overwhelm, there’s also the feeling of lack of control, and lack of clarity – we’re going to address those with two strategies to help you move forward.
1. What’s most important? Exercise from Marie Forleo – The idea is that inner chaos produces outer chaos – so what we’re going to do now is create mental whitespace, more breathing room in your brain! CLARITY! Take some paper and a pen:
Step 1: Take 10 minutes and write down anything in your head
- on your to-do list
- anything that keeps you up at night, that you feel guilty about
- all your projects, everything you tell yourself you should be doing, Write it all down.
Step 2: Cross out anything you don't have control over
- you want a parent to love you more
- you can control how you feel about them, not how they feel about you
- in business, if you want to sell a certain number of products, you can’t control that, but you can control your marketing efforts, being consistent on email
Step 3: Cross out some more!
- cross out things that you feel like you should do, but you never do it
- you’re not passionate about it, you feel guilty about it
- like taking that course, like people you “should” connect with but you don’t want to
- be honest with yourself – and then you can prioritize, have more peace and get more done.
2. Where is my energy going? This tool is called the Overwhelm Grid, from Shawn Blanc.
What are the things you love to do, and they need your unique touch – it could be a creative task, something at work, being with people you enjoy, etc. Yet sometimes, these move to the bottom because so many people need you and set deadlines that involve you in other categories.
Use these boxes to understand where your energy is going, and to take back what is important to you!
Box 1 - What do you love to do that only you can do? Being a mentor, a parent, Exercising, meditating?
Box 4 - Is what you don’t love to do, but only you can do it. Maybe it’s a report that’s tedious. Is there a way you can make it more enjoyable? If it’s catching up with friends on Facetime, can you set a regular time in your calendar, and remove the guilt? What is one example of that for you?
Box 2 – Are tasks you enjoy, but someone else could do. Are they pleasant enough, but not that important to you? See if you want to free up more time for your TOP priorities.
Box 3 is easy – you don’t like doing it, it doesn’t need your special skills, in fact, anyone can do it. This is where you can ask for help – like doing the laundry, delegating a task, putting a recurring bill on autopay, or having someone come in from time to time to help with the cleaning – if any of these work for you, it can be liberating.
Overwhelm is a feeling that comes and it goes, like riding out a wave. Don’t practice perfectionism – practice self-compassion. Beating yourself up keeps you stuck.
Re-prioritize, so you can choose what you’ll put into your day. Then you can break it down to smaller chunks.
Get out of your head and future worries and get into the present moment by doing one small shift
First: be kinder to yourself, and look at what is one small step you can do today?
Randy Taran is the Founder and CEO of the global organization, Project Happiness. With a loyal following of 2.5 million people, she has been covered in O magazine, NPR, and The Huffington Post. As the producer of an award-winning documentary on the nature of happiness, she facilitated interviews with George Lucas, Richard Gere, and neuroscientist Richard Davidson. Her best-selling book on happiness became the basis for curriculum in over 120 countries worldwide. She has worked with First Ladies, Ministers of Education, and major thought leaders, for nearly a decade has served as a board member of the Dalai Lama Foundation and is on the board of the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of Happiness. Randy, a master in NLP, is a sought-after international speaker on the topics of happiness habits, preventative wellness, and emotional resilience. Check out Randy's latest book: Emotional Advantage!