The Complete Guide on how to deal with overwhelm …Part 1

…for Tycoon Women who are still wearing the cape and trying to fly! 
super hero woman

My sister once told me that the only thing that she had in common with Superwoman was gender! How many of us continue to don the cape of the super hero with delusions of being able to travel faster than a speeding bullet or leap a building in a single bound? Let’s face it, the age of communication and the internet super highway, far from making things easier has simply given us so many more things to add to our lists. Everything we read is either a call for action or an idea enticing us to give it our attention. If you are looking to make significant changes in your life you are already predisposed to the bright shiny object syndrome (the tendency to keep switching your focus to the next interesting idea that grabs your attention) so it is important that you establish a way of managing yourself, your time and your relationships or you will quickly find yourself in overwhelm.

 We all have limitations on our time and so if you find that you now have to add more things to your list because you are actively trying to create a new future for yourself then it’s time to re evaluate and set yourself some rules to help you manage your time effectively so that you are able to be happy as well as productive. When I said rules I really meant tips; so I’ll be sharing some tips for dealing with overwhelm and increasing productivity in this 5 part series. Please feel free to gift these to a friend if you notice they are still wearing their cape!

First things first – don’t turn this exercise into an overwhelming task

There are a lot of tips for variety and so that there is something in it for all tastes – To start the process Just pick ONE of these tips to work on. Do not overload yourself more, by trying to do all of them at once; you can always come back to the list later to try out different tips.

Second be aware of what leads to you have feelings of overwhelm

Many people experience feelings of overwhelm at some point, it doesn’t matter how accomplished and skilful you are at what you do or even how long you have been doing it; the most common reasons for feeling overwhelmed are:

  • You are trying  to be everything to everyone
  • You are trying to focus on too many things at once
  • You are overly optimistic about how much time it takes to do a task
  • You over schedule your time, i.e. put to many appointments and activities in your weekly calendar
  • You don’t let your no mean” no” or you are still saying “yes” all the time to requests

What is important to become aware of is that all of the above are choices you have made. You always have the capacity to make choices; even choosing to do nothing to change things is a choice! So every time you make a choice to do too much; add something to your schedule which in your heart you know you can’t accommodate in the time; you are making the choice to feel overwhelmed. It may sound harsh but remember you are always in control.

You are in control of your time. You are in control of what you make a top priority. You are in control of your thoughts about how you see what you have to do or don’t have to do. You’re even in control about what you allow to interrupt you when you are busy, i.e. a pop up email or a ringing phone!

You have the power (indeed only you have the power) to change things if you feel overwhelmed.

Third admit that you are not superwoman and take off the cape!

It seems that the 101 of time management was to write to do lists. A caveat to all to-do lists should be that if you can’t see all the items you need to-do at the same time then the list is too long! I used to have to-do lists that went on for pages.  Every brilliant idea or improvement to something I was working on, plus all family requests etc would go on it.

Each day the list got longer, the rate at which items were being added far out stripping the rate at which items were ticked off. And as the list got longer the more overwhelmed I felt.

Then I had an epiphany (a sort of road to Damascus moment). I was never going to be able to finish my to-do list – it would always get longer at a faster rate than it got shorter.

Once I got that I would never get it all done, it became obvious that I would never be able to do it all by myself. Someone once told me that if life seems hard it’s because you are practicing boot lace levitation, i.e. you are trying to hoist yourself up by your boot laces rather than asking others to give you a hand up. Once I had had this awakening, the solution  was obvious; either I’d have to delegate what I couldn’t do or cross it off my list altogether.

I appreciate that this may involve some serious withdrawal symptoms for the superhero addicts amongst us (I’ve been there) but if you are serious about not feeling burnt out and overwhelmed, then the first place to start is with your to do list . Think about what’s its real purpose, how it might work for you rather than against you and be creative with its timeframe. For example you could have annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily tasks.

Practice makes new perception

The best way to shift a limiting belief system that is keeping you stuck is to practice behaving in a way that supports empowering thoughts. In plain English that means act as if you believe something and pretty soon it will become a habit and you will wonder how you ever thought differently. It will take a while to get used to doing things in a different way – choosing not to feel overwhelm or that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Use the tips to practice your new empowering behaviour.

When your new way of doing things becomes part of your every day, the outcome will be a feeling of mastery over your workload, your time and your energy. You will be in control of your calendar and To Do list instead of feeling as if they are in control of you.

Next week we will look at some top tips designed to change how you think, feel and as a consequence act so you can start to successfully manage your time and feelings of overwhelm.

Are you still wearing a superhero cape? What are your strategies for remaining human?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section so others can benefit too.

 

 

 

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About Ola Agbaimoni

Known as "The Business Detective" due to her "Sherlock Holmes" like problem solving abilities, Ola works in partnership with her sister Carole Pyke, The Business Bard. Together they run Eélan Media, a new type of Business growth agency offering a forensic approach to business and a creative approach to marketing. As well as being an expert in business planning, training and development, Ola is also a certified coach, NLP practitioner; an accomplished author, speaker and presenter.

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