|Michael Angier is the founder and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of
SuccessNet based in
South Burlington, Vermont USA. He’s a father, husband, writer, speaker,
entrepreneur, coach and student. He's also the creator of The World Class
many of the people I've been talking with or coaching have been
complaining about being overwhelmed. I have to admit that I've been
wrestling with it too.
My ideas and my commitments seem to
far outpace my time and energy. So here's my advice to you--and to
myself--for dealing with overwhelm.
1. Recognize that overwhelm isn't
real. It's not something that attacks us. It's a feeling we
experience based upon a belief there's too much to do and too little
time to do it. It's fear--plain and simple. And once we recognize
and acknowledge it, we're better equipped to deal with it.
2. Be grateful. Just think, the
alternative is that you have little to do and you're bored.
Appreciate the fact that you have the opportunities and the projects
that allow you to contribute to the world.
3. Accept the fact you'll never be
caught up. If you're a person of action--someone with goals and
aspirations--it's not too likely you'll ever have an empty inbox.
The times in which we live and our ability to do meaningful work
throughout our lives leads me to believe that we will always have
things left to do.
4. Understand that we can only think
about one thing at a time. We may be able to multi-task and we may
be able to switch our thoughts very rapidly, but we really can hold
only one thought in our mind at a time. Trying to think about more
than one thing at once is very tiring and frustrating.
5. Be selective. The biggest weapon
you have in fighting overwhelm is your ability to prioritize what
you need to do. By making intelligent choices based upon urgent,
non-urgent, important and non-important, we can focus better. By
basing these choices on our core values, we can relax in the belief
that we're doing what matters most.
6. Delegate. Learn to gain the
assistance of others. People like to help, but you have to ask.
Anything that can be adequately done by someone else should be
delegated. It's an important skill worth developing.
7. Learn to say no. Our feelings of
overwhelm largely come from taking on too much. If you're asked to
do something, don't be too quick to accept the assignment. You might
think you're being a nice person, but if you succumb to health
problems because of it, you won't be nice for very much longer.
If you're TOLD to do something (by a
boss, for instance), ask them which things they would like to have
you put off while you complete the new assignment.
8. Take care of yourself. There will
always be times when we're called upon to put forth extra effort.
And we can if we've been taking good care of ourselves right along.
For those periods where extra drive, a few extra hours and hard work
are required, we need to be in good shape--mentally and physically.
If we've been eating, sleeping and
exercising properly, we'll be far better prepared for the extra
stress our lives require.
Remember to take breaks. The tendency
for many of us is to work harder and longer. In actuality, we can
get more done in less time and with less effort if we take breaks.
9. Breathe. When we feel overwhelmed,
we have a tendency to tighten up instead of relax. It seems like
there are many things we HAVE to do, but the only thing we REALY
have to do is breathe. Take some long deep breaths and feel yourself
returning to the present.