How do you know that you are stuck in over whelm? I know when it happens to me. I shut down. I cannot make a decision, no matter how small. Every project seems to be too big to start and I don’t know how to decide which project needs my attention first.
Overwhelm feels like a NJ roundabout where you keep missing your turn so you just drive faster because none of the choices seem like the right one.
The big question is how to you get out of overwhelm and stop driving in circles? Step One- recognize your early warning signals that you are headed towards overwhelm. Define what that means and feels like for you. Step Two- stop everything and step back to look at the big picture. It is easy to get caught up in busy and moving fast without stopping to plan first. The stop and plan part will help you make decisions ahead of time on where to best spend your time. What if you only had time to get one thing done today? Would you know what thing was the most important? Or would you fill that time with busy work, instead of high priority work. Step Three- Be realistic about what you really can accomplish every day. Keep your do to lists short and prioritize.
When I am at my best, I spend two hours of the week planning. Just thinking and organizing my time for the week ahead. I like to say I only think hard once a week. Then I can just follow the action steps and work through the list as time allows. My other best process is breaking down projects into smaller steps. I can see progress when I can accomplish one step at a time. Moving forward happens one step and one day at a time. It feels good to pay attention to that progress and be grateful for what I did accomplish everyday instead of what I did not.