In a previous post, I shared with you 3 tips you could implement quickly to combat overwhelm. In this post I want to share 3 more. Each of these is also easily implemented… and they have the added benefit of making you more effective, as well. These are tips I share with my clients… and use myself.
Chunk It Down
Is there something you are trying to accomplish that is overwhelming you? Or perhaps you aren’t even trying because the task seems so daunting.
If so, the first thing to do is to break the project (or even the task) down into smaller pieces. (NLP practioners call this “chunking down”.) Keep doing this for each piece until each one is do-able by itself.
Now, each step is something you can actually do. (Assuming your competence, of course. In some cases it will highlight where you need training, skills development, or that you should outsource a task.)
If you look at the whole, you may feel overwhelm again, but in a different way. Now, it is not because you can’t accomplish it, but because there seems to be so many pieces to it. Take heart. I read recently that it takes 61 steps to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you write out the instructions so that someone who has never done it before can do it the first time. But, if you have ever made one, you can do it pretty easily.
Your tasks are the same way. Many of them seem daunting because there are so many steps. However, as you tackle them one at a time, you will find they are not as bad as it seemed when you looked at them as a whole. And many go very quickly.
It is important to recognize that prioritization is not just about your goals and tasks – your to-do list – but about your whole life: daily, weekly, and beyond.
Keeping that in mind, your prioritization should be in this order:
1. Your self-care time
If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you get anything done? You may have heard this as the “oxygen mask principle”. That takes its name from airline travel — in the safety briefing where they say, “in the event of a sudden decrease in cabin pressure an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you…. Please secure your own mask before helping children or others around you with theirs.”
2. Family time (and relationships)
If you want your life to be meaningful and effective you must include time for those in your life who add meaning to yours. For most people, this is family, significant others, and close friends.
Within this arena are the goals that you have for your life and the tasks that are generated to accomplish them.
Be sure and include both long-term and short-term goals and tasks. Errands (and associated travel time) are also a part of this.
The super-short-term tasks are the day’s task list.
Remove things from your plate.
There are some questions you can ask yourself that will help determine what you can remove. (And then you can prioritize the things that remain, appropriately.)
1. Does this need to be done?
What will happen if I don’t do this? Can I live with the consequences?
2. Does this need to be done, *now*?
Is now the best time for this to be done? Can this wait till later (and maybe be done with similar tasks)?
3. Does this need to be done *by me*?
Am I the best one to do this?
Is it the best use of my time to be the one doing this, even if I can do it better than anyone else?
Can someone else do this “good enough” for it to be okay if it frees me up to do what I do uniquely?
Can someone do this better than me? (Are you operating in your strength or just in your pride/poverty/frugality/ignorance?)
4. Can this be automated?
Always be on the lookout for things that can be automated (either by yourself or by others). It may be as simple as capturing what you uniquely do (over and over) and putting that into a process or system that you (or an assistant) can run when appropriate.
Do you need help implementing these in your life? Or, perhaps, you are trying to figure out HOW to implement these. That’s what I’m here for. So, go ahead, contact me. Together we can figure out the best way for you proceed. What have you got to lose? Besides your overwhelm, I mean.