Do you suffer from being overwhelmed? This time of year can be more challenging than most as Christmas approaches. We have so much more to do right now. Feeling overwhelmed isn’t pleasant and can stop us from moving forward and making critical life decisions. Procrastination sets in, and boom, we become stuck.
Let’s not forget that we are blessed to have everything in our lives, all the opportunities, ideas, people, interests, hobbies, and responsibilities, but it can get a bit too much at times and all-consuming. We end up being distracted by everything we must do instead of enjoying our lives whilst doing them. This can be a waste of such a glorious gift. So, in the interest of helping you get more perspective on your never-ending To-Do List, let’s take the three most common things that come up when we are feeling overwhelmed.
ONE – There’s not enough time?
If you want more time in your life, you must show time some respect. If you’re constantly late or blowing things off, you’re not sending a message to the universe, others, or yourself that you value the precious time you crave and are trying to create more for yourself.
If you want to know where your time is going, try time tracking your week. Record your time for between 3-7 days. The more, the better. Be as detailed as possible and include everything from cleaning your teeth to walking the dog and everything in between. You can record your time in a notebook or on a spreadsheet. However you do it, this will clarify where your time is going, allowing you to make changes and prioritise the things you value in life.
Don’t forget when we’re forced to do something, suddenly, time is there, which means it’s there all the time, but you’ve chosen to limit yourself by believing that there isn’t or saying yes to something, which means saying no to something else.
If you act like time isn’t important, you’re not in alignment with what you say you want, so you’ll have a hard time getting it. Would you expect a friend to keep showing up for you if you constantly treated them like they didn’t matter? The same is true for time.
If you’re always late, start being early; if you’re constantly cancelling or forgetting your dates with people, get yourself a new system and get it together. Write down your appointments and keep them, set your alarm on your phone to remind you to get ready early, write things down and keep your word if you say you will do something. If you want a good relationship with time, will this help you create more time in your life?
Distractions and interruptions can sap our time, so watch out for them. Did you know it can take up to 23 minutes to get back into the flow you were in before you were distracted? What a waste of our most precious resource. Protect your time at all costs. Once you know your favourite distractions, you can build up a good defence against them. The time-tracking exercise above will help identify them.
TWO – Learn the art of prioritising your time
Start to prioritise that To-Do List by asking yourself what needs to happen right now/today? What can wait? Put these on two separate lists and hide the wait list for now. Concentrate first on the ‘now/today’ list. What are the significant (CEO style) tasks on the current list, and what are the little piddly ones (WORKER style)? Give the piddly ones to someone else, or batch them together and schedule a time to finish them. Remember, the shorter the list you’re working with, the better you’ll feel.
Start your day by NOT checking your emails, voice messages or Social Media. At least wait until you’ve got into your day and accomplished some of the tasks on your list. Don’t answer the phone or a message when you’re busy; other people’s needs can occupy several lifetimes worth of our attention if you let them. You’re only inviting more tasks onto your list before you’ve even tackled what you set out to do; this is a tremendous way to feel overwhelmed.
“Create before you consume”
Try delegating tasks; help is all around us. Sometimes, retrieving it is simply looking at it differently and asking for help.
Finally, remember you’ll never get it all done, so stop stressing about it. Do what you can and enjoy it instead of trying to do it all in misery.
THREE – Taking time off isn’t a priority and a waste of my time.
It is not healthy if you believe that taking time off would cause your entire life to collapse. If you don’t take time off, your body will eventually put its foot down. Bodies do it all the time; stress is a leading cause of many illnesses; in fact, 80-90% of what GPs see in their surgeries is in some way stress-related and is now known to be causative of dementia in later life. Aside from sickness, making time to do things inspires and motivates you. Where’s the fun in waking up at 85 years old and realising you couldn’t find the time to enjoy yourself? What were you doing that was more important. Taking time out is not a luxury reserved for people who are wealthy or less bogged down than you are. It’s for smart people who take time to figure out and choose to design a more fulfilled life.
What can be more important than that!