Where do I start??
The feeling that we get when we are overwhelmed is so common, life is so busy and often it seems that we have so much to do and so little time in which to do it in. Often it can be worse during the school holidays as you are pulled between work and family commitments and can be very difficult for those who work for themselves.
So how can we turn this around and make things less stressful?
The first thing is quite literally to STOP! Have you often wondered why some people just seem to be able to cope with far more than others? Often difference is the story that they are telling themselves in their head! Listen to what you are telling yourself?
‘I must do this..’ ‘I haven’t done that yet’ ‘So and so does so much more than me’ ‘I should be doing this’, ‘I’m rubbish at all of this’, ‘Im SO stressed’, ‘I can’t cope with this’, ’ and so it goes on ~ it really doesn’t make you feel any better and believe me you achieve far less!!
Is this really helpful? Does it make you feel better? In my experience the answer is no! The fact is we have a whole bunch of stuff that we want to get done, and only a short amount of time to do it in, we may not be able to change the situation in front of us, but we can change our reaction to it. So change the record and stop being so hard on yourself, coach yourself through it, even with a simple mantra such as ‘I’m fine, I will get through this’ will help you change how you feel about the tasks ahead.
The key is to prioritise and be realistic. You’re not a super hero and you probably don’t have a magic wand or can warp time, you have to be realistic as to what you can achieve in the time available. Often when we get overwhelmed we jump from one task to the next, not really focussing or finishing on any one task, getting stressed about all of them, and not really knowing what actually we need to do.
The first step is to make a list of all the things that you need to do, remember to coach yourself through this, it may be a very long list, so tell yourself you are taking control and you’re sorting it out, there is no need to panic!
When you’ve done that, give each task a priority, which need to be done straight away (and no not all of them will be, you may like them done now, but some can and will have to wait!), which ones in a day, two days, a week, etc. However, out of this list there may be one or two tasks that are hanging over you, that are demotivating you, if you have one of these, push it to the top of the list and get it out of the way!
Then estimate how long each task will take, this is a balance between being realistic and motivating yourself, it is useful to say, ‘I will get this done in….’ as that way it does get done!
Finally look at the week ahead, are there any pockets of time that you could use? Perhaps before the kids get up (could you get up earlier?) or when they go to bed, when they at a play date or watching TV, then match the jobs up with the time available. Book your tasks in that time slot as if they are appointments, that time is no longer available for anything else.
Then relax and congratulate yourself you are now in charge, you’ve taken control, no need to be stressed as you have looked at what needs doing and the time you have, you simply cannot do anymore. This way, the ‘I must do’ becomes a ‘I will be doing this when..’
Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Speaker (andreamorrison.co.uk) and is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days, her facebook page is www.facebook.com/andreamorrisoncoaching Discover the Real You, together, today!