Stop Overwhelming Yourself By Overworking Yourself
This article was written by Sara Ben-Ezra, friend and enthusiastic collaborator with WAC. Enjoy!
One of the launch questions that I know everyone has admitted to feeling is: “Do you feel overwhelmed, like there are just too many things to do in a day, and it affects your focus?” If you say no, I think you are lying to yourself. We have all felt overwhelmed, it is a very natural human thing to feel. However, the key to dealing with too much on your plate is to first take a second to calm down and address the reasons you are overwhelmed and then most importantly how to tackle all of the things you have to do.
Breathe, Vent, and Breathe Again
When I get overwhelmed it’s easy to continue thinking about everything I have to do and suddenly I lose focus and panic. Fortunately, I have developed a pretty good method to avoid losing focus while I am overwhelmed. There is no definitive way to ignore the anxiety and stress that comes along with having too much to do; therefore, you have to face it head on in order to be productive. First, give yourself some time to breathe, maybe vent to a friend, or freak out. I know this sounds counterproductive, but if you get all of the stress and anxiety out in the open it will be much easier to deal with and it also lets you get your frustration out.
So, you’ve just had a mini-meltdown and you are starting to calm down again. Now is the part where you get serious about fixing your situation, by organizing it. I suggest you make a list or a weekly calendar of the things you have to do. This way you can visually see what you have to do. Looking at a list itself might help you realize you have fewer things than you thought, and it also ensures that you won’t forget anything. Similarly, a calendar will help you figure out when things are due, which will help you prioritize.
Plan of Attack
This is my favorite phase of re-focusing myself. I hate feeling overwhelmed, so my way of avoiding it is to DO things. I need a plan and then I can just knock things out one by one. I know it seems obvious, but when you make a list and start checking things off, all of a sudden that feeling of being overwhelmed starts to slowly shrink.
These are a few tips in order to figure out your own plan of attack. Determine what is priority, what must be done and when must it be done by, can you have someone else do something, can you postpone or turn down anything. Once you answer these questions, re-asses the list you made and all of a sudden you have a more do-able list and an order in which you will do things.
The point in getting organized and coming up with a plan is that your brain doesn’t get distracted when you start to work, by subconsciously worrying about how you will get everything done. Of course anxiety and stress is inevitable, but your focus level rises when you get organized. My biggest tip is to keep a schedule of things you have to do as soon as you find out about them.