Friday, April 20, 2018

Controlling the Overwhelm

March 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Coping, Ourselves, Success!

I have one foot stuck in the overwhelm as if it were quicksand. I sometimes forget my own advice. When we are most overwhelmed it’s time to stop chasing the work and regroup.

Between a crashed car, some computer and staffing setbacks on the workfront, working up to the launch of the Academy and a general feeling of exhaustion, I’m feeling stretched more than a little thin. I am walking around with four large briefcases loaded with notes and to-do’s. The growing sense that I am very likely missing some important fact or have forgotten a promised call is adding to my stress.

So here’s the fix. Nothing is more important than an immediate, commando-style house cleaning. Sorting through my work, page-by-page, I will re-organize, re-prioritize and re-energize. (I know – that’s a lot of “re-ing”, but it must be done!)

This will not be a week-long process. The trick here is to make quick decisions, triaging the situation, like an emergency room medic:

  • What notes are already dead? (They’ve been superseded, are too late to address or are no longer relevant.) Off to the shredder!
  • What items should be filed away for future reference? Organize them for quick insertion into your files.
  • What issues need to be addressed in the coming hours or days? Collect these notes in one place. A note pad or calendar will do the trick.
  • What remains will likely be important tasks due some time in the coming weeks and months. These items can be organized by the date they will likely be addressed or the relative priority they have to each other.

You may feel too overwhelmed to take this time. You may be justifiably concerned that this is just another impulsive act you can’t afford. Taking a couple of focused hours reorganizing will be time well spent.

If you are feeling like you are being buried alive in the demands in front of you, taking the time to sort it all out will have the following effects:

  • You will stop worrying about and staring at things that no longer matter.
  • Your stress levels will drop considerably.
  • You will reduce the likelihood of forgetting some important tasks on the horizon.
  • Your thoughts will be clearer, as you can now focus on just the most important task directly in front of you.
  • You will rest easier and sleep better without your fears getting the best of you.

How do you restore calm and control when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed? Share your thoughts, below.

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