Kick Overwhelm To The Curb – Now!

August 2, 2011

in Business

Does this look familiar?

overwhelming_to_do_list

It’s probably worse right?

It’s the never-ending to-do list that seems to grow day by day.

And every day that you add to the list faster than you can cross things off, the stress, anxiety, and tension build, right?

Before you know it you’re grouchy, irritable, and totally OVERWHELMED.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. Feelings of overwhelm are not uncommon for the fabulous fearless female entrepreneur, but with the right tools and techniques you can eliminate them completely.

Three Steps for Eliminating Overwhelm

1. Change the way you perceive the passing of time.

How much of the way that you perceive time is based on not having enough of it? Do you tell yourself things like: “If only there were more hours in the day?!” Or do you constantly tell yourself, “I’m too busy for that right now?”

In all likelihood you have said those things to yourself, and it’s your scarcity mindset towards time that increases the feeling that you don’t have any.

Lisa Wilder, a business and marketing coach who helps entrepreneurs build abundant businesses and lives, put it perfectly in her recent article Tired of Racing Against the Clock? Try This…

“You have 24 hours in a day, every day; regardless of how much is on your to-do list, regardless of how you’re feeling. The difference lies not in how many hours you have (something you have no control over), but in your thoughts about those hours… in your perception of time (something you do have control over).”

Lisa’s article lays the perfect foundation for shifting your mindset about your perception of time. If you are ready to adopt a new and stress-free outlook on time, make sure you check it out.

2. Stop thinking about everything you have to do, and focus on doing one thing at a time.

Because feeling overwhelmed is a state of mind that only exists when you are thinking about all of the things that overwhelm you, you simply need to stop thinking (living in your mind) and start doing. Obviously, this is easier said than done. But with practice you can prevent yourself from falling into an overwhelmed mindset by giving intense focus to your single most important task at hand.

The first step towards stopping yourself from spiraling into overwhelm is to increase your awareness of your thoughts. When you hear that little voice in your head start to “freak out” over your to do list, break its rant by speaking aloud “I have enough time to do everything I need to do.” Then, promptly begin to focus on completing your single most important task without distraction.

Reassuring yourself of the fact that you have plenty of time, and breaking up the dialog inside your mind, will enable you to quickly divert your energy to what matters most – getting things done!

3. Use the “Will anyone die, be harmed, or get fired if this doesn’t get done today?” rule to prioritize your tasks.

Okay, so it’s a little drastic, but if you’re easily overwhelmed you need a drastic measure to help you put things in perspective. The way this works is that after you’ve planned your day and written out your to-do list, ask yourself “Will anyone die, be harmed, or get fired if this doesn’t get done today?” for each of your tasks.

Hopefully, the answer will be no, which serves to put things in perspective. Then, prioritize the rest of your tasks based on the severity of the consequences for not doing them.

This will help you avoid doing things you prefer to do first because they are easy or shields for procrastination. And, you’ll have a greater motivation while you work because you’ll have established your “why” from the beginning.

If you’re not so easily overwhelmed, you may not need as serious of a question, but you should still make sure that you prioritize based on importance and goal achievement.

4. Do this killer video workshop provided by the lovely Miss Marie Forleo.

If you implement steps one through three you’re going to be in really good shape, but if you’re so overwhelmed that you’re not even sure what to start focusing on, the video below is your answer.

In the video below, life and business coach, Marie Forleo, gives you a clear formula for figuring out exactly where you need to focus your energy so that you can avoid creating feelings of overwhelm.

To participate in this workshop you’ll need about 15 minutes, some paper, and a pen. Go ahead and do it now. If you put it off you’ll probably get so overwhelmed with everything else you have to do that you’ll forget. Press play now!

If you took the time to watch this video, and DID THE EXERCISES, I’m sure you already feel somewhat relieved. That is what clarity will do for you.

When you start to feel overwhelmed from time to time, remember this exercise. You can do it whenever you start to feel like there is just too much on your plate. Clear your plate some and everything else becomes much more manageable.

Now Over To You

We all have a lot to do, and its how we handle the way we think about those things that affects our ability to do them happily. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you plan to implement these practices in combating your feelings of overwhelm. How do you deal with overwhelm? Which of these tips do you like the most? What did you think of Marie’s video workshop?

Let me know in the comments below!

Evelyn Parham August 4, 2011 at 9:05 am

Hey Marlee,

Great post!

I am lazy about making to-do lists, but I know I must do it. It really helps me keep up with what I need to do and prioritizing is key.

I will definitely focus on one thing at a time. I tend to be all over the place and then when I look around nothing gets accomplished. That’s a shame!

Thanks for such a helpful article, it really gave me the kick I need to get things done. OUCH, it hurts, but a a biz chick has to do what a biz chick has to do! ;)

Take care!

Evelyn

janesheeba August 4, 2011 at 1:43 am

I am not only overwhelmed but go drastically crazy when I don’t prioritize my list. A list without priorities scares the hell out of me. I need what needs to be done when – otherwise I’m junk.

Tia Peterson August 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

@Kristi Hines The same here; deadlines rule. For me, it also means that I have to give myself some real deadlines, too.

Kristi Hines August 3, 2011 at 2:04 am

Prioritizing definitely helps! Of course, sometimes that means that if someone hasn’t given me a deadline, they get pushed on the backburner behind someone who needs it tomorrow. But for the most part, it keeps me from stressing out. :)

MARLdblE August 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm

@Tia Peterson So glad you did the video workshop! Isn’t great to realize that you really can do everything you need to do. It just requires clarity. I hope the rest of the bizchicks readers will follow in your footsteps and do the exercise too. Thanks for sharing your experience here.

Tia Peterson August 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

I watched Marie’s video last night while going through your post for publishing. I did the exercise and loved it. Mostly, though, it showed me what my to-do list looks like, since I never write anything down. Most of the things on my list were real, actionable things that need to get done, and as I was writing them down, I realized that they were doable if I organized them and just set aside time to do them.

Great post and very inspirational. Time to kick it to the curb!

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: