Feeling overwhelmed makes up part of most (if not all) people’s life. As a person in the corporate world, job stress may be responsible for most of your feeling overwhelmed. This could also lead to relationship stress, which in turn adds to your feeling overwhelmed. Farmers especially those in a developing country may feel overwhelmed due mainly to financial stress.
How to deal with it is the question to which I’ve tried for years to find the answer through reading, by trying out various tools and methods. As I have coped well with it for quite some time, I believe that what I have to share with you in this post will be helpful for those of you who are looking for tips to help you stop feeling overwhelmed continually.
“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” -Albert Einstein
It’s important that you step back and rethink your circumstances. You can take a walk or meditate for a few minutes. If necessary, get enough sleep or nutritious food, do exercise or even take a vacation. Key is for you take good care of yourself, to have space to really reconsider your situation with a fresh mind.
Have a notepad and a pen with you during your break to rethink your circumstances. You can have your mobile device for this purpose as long as it does not interfere with your break. When you feel fresh, start collecting your thoughts, stuff, tasks, projects that are clogging your mind. Just brain-vomit them all onto your note. This will give your mind clarity.
In karate there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: “mind like water.” Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact. -David Allen
I am sure you will have a long list from the previous step. Now it’s time to prioritize them, putting first things first. Your first things are the things that are important and urgent. You can also prioritize the things that are not important but urgent, but always make sure that you’re not stuck with it and leave your “first things” behind.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen R. Covey
4. Getting your priorities done
Planning priorities is a great start. Getting them done takes you further. Getting things done does not mean you have to do every thing. Nor does it mean you have to do them all alone. You can do it, dump it, delegate it, or defer it: the 4 D’s of GTD by David Allen. There is a great article on 43 Folders on this topic if you would like to get started with GTD.
5. Say no
The key to not leaving your “first things” behind lies in your ability to say no’s early and avoid over-committing yourself and getting distracted by things that are not important both for yourself and your organisation. Explain how your no’s benefit your organisation or the good cause you’re trying to achieve for your organisation.
Well, yes just sounds better and easier in most cases. That’s why we tend to say yes and find it so much difficult to say no later when we realise we’re over-committing ourselves.
No is often a tough choice. It can be hard and even painful. But it’s almost always a good idea to say more no’s than yes’s when you know what you’re doing.
“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” -W. Clement Stone
6. Make these steps your habit!
I believe that if you follow these steps, you will be able to deal effectively with your feeling overwhelmed from time to time. I also believe that if they work for you, you can make these steps your habit and improve your work/life quality once and for all.
“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” –Shaquille ONeal