“There’s just not enough time in the day to get done what I need to.” “I wish I had more time.” “I’m so overwhelmed right now.” Do those phrases sound all too familiar? If so, maybe you’re overwhelmed. I know that is hard to accept but recently I was reviewing some research and what I found was pretty shocking.
Two-thirds of the working population stated that they feel like they don’t have enough time to get their work done, and 94 percent have felt overwhelmed to the point that they can no longer function. In this article from our “Life” category we will be unraveling the reality of being overwhelmed and we will give you four proactive steps to overcome “being overwhelmed.“
If you don’t know the fullness of my personal story you can at least walk away with some of it. Over two years ago I discovered the hard way that I was burned out, overwhelmed, running on the fumes of adrenaline, and my health was in serious need of a medical overhaul. After spending an hour with my family doctor she gave me a prescription and not the kind you would expect. My doctor prescribed to me an exercise routine, several days off from work, emotional and mental boundaries, and a set of long-term goals to accomplish. I needed to make some serious adjustments.
There are several factors that play into being overwhelmed and usually we miss the majority of them. Little do we realize, but “being overwhelmed” actually causes us to function in a “dumb” manner. Of course that sounds ridiculous, but when we are in that state of mind our decision making is impaired, it’s harder to resist temptations, we make erratic decisions, it stumps our creativity, and creates lack of control over our emotions.
Are you finding it hard to sleep, constantly anxious, irritable, and thinking irrationally? You might be overwhelmed.
It’s time to take back what you’ve lost in the process. Too often we buy into the lie that being busy will create great opportunities for success, but it’s just another partner of the overwhelming affect that robs us. Here are four proactive steps to overcome “being overwhelmed.”
step #1: Choose your top five.
Take the next two minutes and I want you to write down on a separate piece of paper everything that you did today. It can include things like: worked at the office, mowed the lawn, ran some errands, just write all of it down.
Did you do it? Seriously if you didn’t then walk away from this article, because you won’t apply the rest of what you’ll read. Now if you wrote everything down, you need to ask yourself this question: “What did I accomplish today on this paper that was transformational?” Once you find the two or three things go ahead and circle them. The reality is we do too much all the time.
We have no clue how to say “no.” In fact let’s take it a step further, because we are taught that saying “no” is rude. Think back to the last time that you told a friend, a family member or coworker “no” because you had too much happening. What was their initial response? Did they chastise you and give you grief? How would things be different for you if you said “no” to a lot more things?
The first step to overcome “being overwhelmed” is to choose five top areas that you are passionate about, believe in, skilled at, and bring transformation. Where do we even begin? Go back to that separate piece of paper you were making circles on. We cannot do everything so we have to trim everything down to the top five things that matter in our lives. Then we learn to say “no” to everything else.
The reality is I spend 90 percent of my day giving my time and energy to five specific areas. Everything else has to wait. This means that I have to make choices and that means I have to say “no” to protect my top five. Your top five will reflect your standards and values. If it matters to you, you will have time for it.
step #2: destroy all distractions.
Have you ever yearned so bad for just a few minutes of uninterrupted peace and quiet? You find yourself muttering quietly that you wish the baby would stop fussing, the constant interruptions at the office, or if only people would quit calling you. The truth is we’re responsible for the majority of it.
We have learned to live with the demands of distractions. The invitation for the bombardment of smartphones, calendar reminders, television ads, are always there. It’s hard to think that all these distractions could be aiding in us being overwhelmed.
The first place to begin is with your atmosphere. Take a solid look around you and see what is distracting you. Anything that you see, hear, or experience that causes you to be overwhelmed, exhausted or upset…get rid of it. This can even mean powering off your phone, or turning off the TV for certain periods of time.
step #3: quit multi-tasking.
There are people who I meet all the time that brag about how good they are at multi-tasking. Sadly they’re also good at buying into lies, because there is no such thing as successful multi-tasking. When we choose to focus on two or more things, everything suffers.
There is great power in focusing in one specific thing at a time. Multi-tasking overwhelms us with ease. Have you ever attempted to drive, listen to the radio, text someone, and hold a conversation with the person in the passenger seat? How do you feel after you’ve reached your destination? Completed? Accomplished? You probably feel more drained and exhausted, than refreshed.
Distractions cost us. If you want to overcome “being overwhelmed” then quit multi-tasking. There is an App I use on a regular basis called 30/30. This app helps me remain grounded and focused on one thing at a time for certain periods of time so I am not tempted to do multiple things at one time.
step #4: silence the smartphone.
I am so guilty of having a love-affair with my smartphone. Over a year ago I realized that I was on my phone way too much when my oldest daughter, who was five at the time, said to me: “Daddy you’re always on your phone.” That was a reality check for me. The truth is we need to stop dating our smartphones.
Let’s admit it, there is a slight addiction and pleasure to receiving notifications, push features, and alerts. It makes us feel important and valued. At the same time it not only creates a false craving, but all the “dings” and “bings” overwhelm us. I even remember that I had used my phone so much in one day that my fingers started to throb in pain (I’m not joking).
Start to create space in your life away from your smartphone, tablet, or any other electronic devices. Second, you can do this by shutting off any notifications, alerts, or push features. It’s okay to have a quiet phone. Finally, set a time limit for the entire day as to how long you will be on social media. I did an experiment one day and I kept track of how many hours I was on social media (Twitter, email, Facebook, etc) and I had spent four hours viewing social media in one day. That was a waste of time and energy.
So what do you do with everything else? Find a way to clear it off your plate. If you’re not passionate about it, if you’re not skilled in it, or it’s not transformational, it might be time to kill it. You can overcome “being overwhelmed” today by applying these four proactive steps.