Why you are overwhelmed?
What I love most about talking to so many people each day is learning about the issues that debilitate, and the successes that inspire. A common hurdle that many of our How to Quit Working members face is that of overwhelm. Being employed is a full time job. Trying to start a business, work and possibility take care of a family or accomplish much else can leave you feeling overloaded. When you’re in a state of overwhelm you aren’t operating as your best self. So what should you do? How can you keep on track while staying your course and living your dreams?
First, examine the true reasons behind your feelings of overwhelm. Often, they can come from high levels of expectations. If you have high expectations for yourself and those around you, you’ll always want to push to the next level. While it is invaluable to have a dedication to professionalism and excellence, having unachievable or unmeetable expectations can leave you feeling defeated and drained (take it from the expert in the high expectations category). Your expectations can increase the pressure you feel and lead to a new to perfectionism. Perfectionism often leads to procrastination and the cycle goes on and on usually in a downward spiral. Set your goals just out of reach. This will allow you to head in the right direction, up, but also allow you to experience success. Success usually breeds more success. And that is a cycle that you want to perpetuate.
Next, examine how much you are taking on?
Often times, we overcommit and are left feeling run ragged. I like to imagine that my life is a shelf. I can fill that shelf up until it’s full. When my shelf is full I feel busy, usually really busy. Where the trouble comes in is my habit of stacking. If I start to stack the items on my shelf, the stability get’s thrown off. I can only manage to stack a few items on top of the already full shelf before everything falls to the floor and life becomes one giant mess. Letting go of control is a big challenge, but relinquishing control will allow you to hold on to only the items that really matter. Have you ever had a life crisis (who am I kidding, everyone has)? When you have a life crisis you really find out how much you can let go of. In those moments when you don’t have the capacity to do anymore, help anyone or take on one more task you realize that you are surrounded by hundreds of helping hands. People who will do and help with a simple ask.
What is the best way to go from overwhelmed to inspired? It starts with saying no. If you are a perfectionist, overachiever, and just a bit controlling you might find it hard to say no. We have a tendency to take on more that we can handle all because we don’t want to say no. The reason many people don’t say no is because deep down they believe they can do it better than someone else. Perhaps you take on too many projects at work, or volunteer on too many committees in the community, at church or at your childs school. Or perhaps you fear that if you say no you won’t be liked, you won’t get promoted, or you won’t be viewed as competent. Know when to say no. If it’s a project that you truly are interested in participating in or perhaps a task that you know you could handle easily without a lot of stress by all means say yes, but if you know that you are at max capacity say no. I use a filter, if I know I can do something well, but I have a full plate, I remind myself that I won’t do it well because I don’t have the time to do it well. I’d rather not do something than do it poorly. Practice saying no and you’ll be amazed how freeing it really is.
Think about delegation
As someone with a natural “I can do it best” attitude it isn’t always easy to delegate. I’ve found delegation can be particularly difficult when you are the owner of a company. You know what you want, how you want it and when you want it. You also know that you can do it quicker than it will take you to teach someone else to do it (and let’s face it they’ll probably do it wrong at least the first time). However, you have to consider the investment you’re making. You may be able to do a task more quickly than you could teach the task, but what is the long term return on getting that task off your plate. Over the course of months or years you will have saved a ton of time. Not to mention it’s only really fun to do everything in your business the first couple years and then it gets old and it’s time to surround yourself with a team. Delegation is a huge step on your path to freedom. Each time I do a task I think, am I the best person for this task? If I were to outsource this, or hire someone to take care of this how would it benefit me in both the areas of time and money. If you make $100 an hour or even $25 an hour and you’re doing something that you could pay someone else to do for $10 an hour you’re not only losing life energy you’re losing money. Learn to accept help. If a friend or family member offers help, accept that assistance. Most likely they want to help or they wouldn’t have offered. Delegating and accepting help will allow you to be best where you shine and give you space to live.
Create a good routine
I don’t know what I’d do in life without my routines. They not only help me prioritize my life they help me let go. I don’t need to think about what I’m doing this morning, or afternoon, or next week for that matter. I know that I’m following my basic routine. Now if you are a super spontaneous person and having a routine feels like being in prison, take it down a notch. I enjoy routines because it fits well with my personality and upbringing. It makes me feel more comfortable. If you’re a free spirit and you need the opportunity to fly to France on a whim design your routine to allow for that. Create a very basic routine that includes morning and evening rituals. These routines might include, meditation, prayer and a work out in the morning. They might also include evening routines such as setting goals for the following day, making sure to wash your face and brush your teeth, reading for 30 mins before you go sleep or any variation that works for you. The point is if you have a routine you are more likely to be efficient with your time and this will create space in your life.
What I do when I feel overwhelmed
When I feel overwhelmed I typically have a to do list running through my head. And that is a horrible waste of energy! Have you ever awoken
in the middle of night knowing that you meant to send an email that you didn’t or remember you were suppose to call someone that you hadn’t. It’s even worse when it’s a big issue such as struggling to make ends meet, or needing to get in new clients. All of that internal monolog circles our brains like its a race track and soon enough we feel hopeless and out of control. The best solution to this issue is getting items out of your head and onto paper. Once you have a list you can stop thinking and stressing a move on to taking real action.
That bring me to my next point which is taking action. Once you’ve got your to do items on a list assign each item a timetable. How long do you think it will really take you to accomplish each task. If the task will take you over 2 hours break that job up into small pieces. An example might be creating your annual budget. A task that size will most likely take you hours. Instead of writing “do budget” on your to do list, break it up into smaller more manageable tasks such as open, name a save a template for the budget. Identify any new expenses needed, etc. Small steps are achievable and can be crossed off your to do list. Big items aren’t achievable in the space of one day and leave you feeling overwhelmed. If you take action and take calculate steps toward your goals you’ll feel accomplished.
Don’t forget to breath. Frequently, the fevered pace of our lives leave us feeling exhausted and beat up. Practice breathing exercises. Take a minute or two at your desk or as you move from place to place to breath deeply. It can make all the difference.
Believe it or not feeling overwhelmed is a choice. Choose to change your life and let go of overwhelm.
If you are interested in what it would be like to have a coach visit www.howtoquitworking.com/coach to sign up for your free 30 minute strategy session. In this session we’ll discuss your goals and how I can help you reach them.