When I felt this way, my old routine was to hurry about my day doing some of this, some of that, then some more of this. Then I’d fall into bed exhausted feeling like I had accomplished nothing. Sound familiar?
Because this season can add a lot to your already-busy life, I want to share my new tried and true method for managing and avoiding the insanity.
Number 1: Get Real
There are only 24 hours in a day and no amount of manifesting is gonna change that. As such, you need to be realistic with how much you think you can get done in those hours.
The driving force behind feeling overwhelmed is trying to cram 10 hours worth of work into a five-hour window. That. Will. Never. Work. Instead, you need a clear plan so you can use your time the most efficiently and this starts with your head.
Number 2: Reclaim Your Brain
Your brain, though often used as a container is, in fact, a brilliant computer. It’s a solution-generating machine, and like any computer whose hard drive is loaded down, can struggle to work optimally.
To reclaim your brain, grab a pen and a piece of paper (old school works best) and write down anything and everything that’s on your mind. And I mean, anything.
Here are some things that made it to the page during my last mind dump:
I have to email that client.
Who do I have in the Christmas grab?
My leg is itchy.
Have the cats eaten lunch?
I need to fix that link on my website.
See what I mean? Anything and everything. It needn’t be organized or categorized. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be legible!
No significant progress can be made when you’re struggling to corral too many thoughts. The point here is to clean off your internal hard drive because when it’s crammed you’ll struggle to make decisions, be resourceful, or access creativity.
Number 3: Make a plan
Now that you have a clean mental slate, draft a list of what needs your attention this week. I usually do this on Sundays and it takes me all of 20 minutes. Here’s what you do:
Draw a line down the middle of a page and on the left side, write your weekly list. On the right side, list the days of the week with space under each to assign tasks.
Plug in any set appointments you have on the books first. Doctor’s appointment on Monday, phone interview on Wednesday, carpool duty on Thursday, etc.
Now look at your list on the left and begin transferring those items to the days on the right. As you do, estimate how much each task will take to complete. When you do, take these three important factors into account: time, energy, and bandwidth (mental capacity). You may have a free and clear day and plan to get a lot done, but it’s unlikely you have eight hours of energy and bandwidth to give. As such, it’s a good idea to tack on 15-30 minutes to how long you estimate each task will take.
To save your sanity when planning, practice this approach: underpromise and overdeliver. Guess what happens when you do the opposite? You feel overwhelmed!
Now that you have a plan for each day, do your best to only focus on the assigned tasks. You’ll probably be tempted to jump to something on another day’s list. Unless some deadline has changed requiring it to be handled sooner, resist!
You’ll be surprised how much time you reclaim in your day by not having to stop and think, “Hmm, what else do I need to do?” Just look at your list for the day!
Finally, identify one game changer for the week. This advice came from a friend of mine and it’s been, well, a game changer. Let’s say life throws you a bunch of curveballs and your best-laid plans for the week get blown to bits. Your game changer is one thing that, if completed, would result in some serious progress overall.
Let’s recap how to get shit done:
Keep your expectations realistic
Empty your brain
Make a plan
Stay focused, and
Knock out your game changer
And that, my friend, is how to kick overwhelm’s ass.