No B.S Friday: Overwhelm is about control, and the lack of it.
I know a lot of people feel a lot of overwhelm right now.
It’s perfectly natural. It’s a very common experience.
The real danger though is that overwhelm can totally derail our drive. We hit periods where it all feels too much, and we just quit.
That’s a shame.
So we need to be able to deal with overwhelm. We all do. From Elon Musk to Bezos to Bozo the clown. Whoever. Whatever you do in life, you’re going to hit periods of overwhelm.
But lets define the problem.
I reckon the feeling of overwhelm is really just another way of saying that you don’t feel like you have control of your time. You’re not in charge. The demands of life are conspiring to throw you this way and that.
And so number one when we’re fighting the feeling of overwhelm is to become the masters of our own time.
One of the keys here is focus. I like to organise my time in blocks. When I’m on, I’m on. When I’m working on one project, whether its accounts, or design plans, or whatever, I give that one thing my full focus.
I don’t take calls. I don’t check emails. I don’t see how many “likes” my pictures of breakfast are getting.
I stay focused.
That also means getting out of reactive mode. It means not checking each message or email as it comes in. It means not taking phone calls if we’re in the middle of something. It means making a plan to give some energy and focus to one thing, and sticking to it.
Resist the temptation.
If you take control of your schedule, you’ll stop feeling like a victim. Overwhelmed is another word for powerless.
And so I set my own schedule and do my best to stick to it. I can’t hit it every hour of every day. Stuff happens, I know that. But when it does, it’s my choice to respond or not.
I’m also a big believer in the idea of “plan tomorrow, today”.
Don’t scramble through to the end of the day and then try and figure out what the heck that was all about on the bus ride home.
Block out some time to take stock of where you’re at, and plan your next day.
It is a real joy to begin the day (the morning hours are some of my most productive hours) with a clear plan and direction. What’s more, you’re not carrying all that stuff around in your head over night. That means you’ll sleep and rest better, and have more energy to hit the day tomorrow.
But at the end of the day, the antidote to overwhelm is control. Take control of your time and you schedule, and it will go a long way to reduce the sense of overwhelm and stress in your life.