Have you ever wished that you have 36 hours a day and superhuman power because you are overwhelmed by all the tasks(of all sizes) that are raining upon you? You are working on deadlines, you kids birthday in a week, projects need rescuing, a business making losses, financial commitment to fulfill and the last thing you need is to forget your anniversary(and deal with the aftermath that follows).
If you are groaning over something similar as you read this, then you probably have the feeling like being drowned in big tidal waves. Before you continue your stressful struggle against what seems like juggling the impossible, I want you to carve a smile on your face. And no, you didn’t get me wrong. Smile. Force it if you have to. Just do it.
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Because when you smile, it triggers some of your emotional memory and draws positive energy from within you. Getting all stressed up doesn’t solve all your problems and tasks in hand. Working on it on a positive level gives you a fresh and wider perspective. Your choice.
Now that you are at least trying to be positive instead of moping on all your problems, let’s get down to some practical things to do when you are overwhelmed. Here’s what to do when you are overwhelmed :
1. Stay Calm
It is easy to crumble under pressure and lost your cool when you have things stacking up against you. Don’t let it happen. Take a deep breathe. Keep your cool and stay calm. Here’s where your mind is playing all tricks on you, telling how things would get worse (and it often did IF you fall prey to your negative thoughts) . In most cases, things are not as bad as it seems.
Even if you are trying to hit multiple deadlines and or your business is in the red, chances are there are solutions that you have overlooked because you are all over your head on what else could go wrong. Be calm and believe that you have the answer. It is easier this way.
Stop listening to your lies that you have to solve all the problems or finish all the tasks at once. Figure out what is more important to you. Missing your kid’s concert or cancelling a meeting with your client? Choices like this do put extra stress to you. But when you have a list of the issues that need your attention according to their importance, you find it easier to negotiate or compromise on those that are of less importance.
“Make the people you love a top priority, always” that’s what Marc Chernoff said on prioritizing your life for happiness in his post here. I’ll always attend to the problems of my loved one first. How about you?
If you have listed over 20 items on your “things-to-do-else-life-gets-crazy” list, then you will be tempted to tackle all of them at once. Or you would be trying to fix the first one and barely make headway into it, you move on to the next one. Before the day ended, you have tried to fix every single item on your list but making little progress after all.
Don’t try to multitask. In fact, multitasking is bad for your brain. It even adds on more stress to what you already have. It feels good to multitask, but you are not really productive at all. Here’s an article by Travis Bradberry that shows you how it kills your brain and may even lower your performance.
4. Get Support
Sometimes being overwhelmed will put you into a defensive mode. Call it ego or a stubborn streak. You will want to get it all done by your own. Maybe it’s some pride issue. You wanted to feel worthy by being able to handle all the issues with your own effort.
Here’s what I say. This is pure foolishness. And selfish too.
If you are a programmer getting stuck at some lines of code, get help from others.Talk to someone who has done it, if you are struggling to scale your business. Or if you are troubled by how to save your money the right way, then do something like The Six Jars system. Get help. You don’t have to do it on your own.
There are times people get overwhelmed because they do not know how to delegate. There are only 24 hours a day. How you use every single minute determine how well you are going to manage your ever growing to-do list. Go through your checklist, does every single task need you to be on hand?
If not, you can hire someone to do it. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are a good place to outsource work related tasks. Or you can trade favours with your friends to get them help you out this time. The saying that “Two heads are better than one” is very true in this case.
6. Drop Certain Things Off
Check your schedule again. Are you on a community project every Sunday? Do you go to a dancing class every week? I mean, these are good things. I’m always a big fan of learning and giving back to the society. But you need to learn how to be flexible and to adapt to your situation.
If it calls for more time on your kids, business or your career that’s not going on too well, maybe it’s time to put some of the hobbies or charitable efforts on hold? At least till you got things under control.
You may want to put all your time into sorting things out and leave none for your well-being. Don’t do that. Once you neglect your health, you will be operating much less than your optimum productivity.
I know you want to cut off those time driving to your favourite gym. But there’s some workout routine from ACE Fitness (25 routines) that you can do at home to keep your health in good condition. A 30-minutes of workout each day would give you the extra boost of energy to stay on top of things.
8. Get enough rest
Sleeping a couple of hour less does not equal additional two productive hours. If you think this is a good way to clear your overwhelming list of pending issues, you are wrong. In fact, being deprived of sleep will affect your focus and decision making, according to an article on sleeprate.com
If you really can’t manage to get enough sleep, try catching power naps in between your day hour. You will find it refreshing, energized and enable you to tackle your task in a more efficient manner. I’d rather have a 2 productive hours with quality rest time in between than a continuous 8 hours operating at 50% efficiency.
9. Keep Your Mindset Positive
With so many things occupying your mind, it is easy to feel negative. “When would I see any light in the tunnel? “ you would ask as you labourously work through every issue that needs your attention. Remind yourself that things will not be the same in 3 months time, and so does your feelings and emotion at this very moment.
Subscribe to your favourite inspirational quotes. Find time to listen to great motivational speakers like Nick Vujicic and Tony Robbins to get your spirit up. Make it a priority to start your day off on a positive note.
You may also want to surround yourself with positive people and keep negative acquaintance away (you know who they are when you are constantly feeling drained around them). Energy is contagious. You want to be positive all the time.
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10. Practice Gratitude
Instead of blaming your circumstances with thoughts like “Why am I going through all these?“, chose to be grateful for the little things you have in your life. As long as you are in the cycle of negative thoughts of anger,blaming or excuses, you are inviting more problems or issues to what you already have in hand.
Call it Law Of Attraction or maybe it’s just life giving you a lesson in management. The thing is once you are at peace with your situation, you will find things would start to change. Just like a grip that has loosen slightly. And it all starts with gratitude.
If you find sleep hard to come by when you are overwhelmed, it’s a sign that your mind is in a flux of emotions. You need quality deep sleep to replenish your energy. Here are some tips to get quality sleep.
If you have practiced meditation before, it’s time to bring it back into your routine. If you are new to meditation, then you may try guided meditation that helps to calm your mind. A program like Clear-Mind may help.
Or at the very least, you can listen to some binaural relaxation music to bring some peace into your mind. Check out my favourite relaxation music here.
If you are stressed and overwhelmed with family duties, career, business, financial or any other obligations, I hope some of my suggestion helps. If you think I have missed out any brilliant ways to get out of an overwhelming scenario, please let me know in the comment section below.