Feeling Overwhelmed? Too much happening and not enough time to get it all done? Deadlines and multiple demands on your time can make you feel stressed out and unable to handle it all. Overwhelmed. Maybe you’re getting headaches or not sleeping well. Your brain is overloaded and thinking clearly becomes difficult. Everyone wants a piece of you but ironically you’re feeling more alone than ever under the burden of stuff that needs to get done.
So, what can you do?
Here’s my 3D’s plan for dealing with Overwhelm.
Step 1 – Make a list.
Write down every single thing you have to do on a piece of paper in whatever order you think of it. It’s a brain dump – empty your mind by writing it down. That in itself is going to make you feel better because once you can see it you can manage it.
Step 2 – Go through your list with a red pen and apply the three D’s.
1) Delete – As you look at each item give some thought to whether or not it really needs to be on the list. What’s the worst thing that can happen if you just don’t do it? Will anyone die? Will your business fail if that thing isn’t done? Will you let anyone down? Aim to delete about a quarter of your list. Put a red line through it. It’s gone. That’s five things deleted for every twenty things on your list.
If you really can’t bear to delete stuff start a new list on a separate piece of paper. Call it your Later List. Transfer at least a quarter of your big list of things to your Later List and do them last. I want you to go through your Later List in a months time and see if they still need doing. Odds are they won’t but if they do you can do them then.
2) Delegate – Now look at what’s left. Are you the person who has to do all these things or can you ask for help? Delegate everything you possibly can, and even some of those things you don’t want to. Sure, someone else may not do it as perfectly as you will, but at least it will get done. Progress Not Perfection.
No-one expects you to do everything yourself and people are only too happy to help if you ask them. So do it. Ask for help and delegate at least another quarter of your list. Use your red pen to write down the name of the person you plan to delegate to beside the item. Make a few phone calls or send some emails to ask for help and you’re done.
3) Delay – You should now only have half of your list left to do. How does that feel? Phew! But odds are it’s still too much so now is when you are going to have to make some hard choices about what you can actually get done in the time you have. Have a good hard look at what’s left.
What are the ‘must do’s’? What can you delay or reschedule? You’re not saying you won’t do it, just that you need more time.
People are usually pretty understanding and it’s better to reschedule a meeting or post-phone a completion date than to miss a deadline or make yourself sick with stress. Don’t leave it too late. Pick up the phone, explain what’s going on and ask for more time. You’ll be able to get your ‘must do’s’ done first and then focus on the delayed jobs.
Use your red pen to prioritise the things you’ve got left on the list. Write the planned completion date beside each item and then number them from first due to last due.
By now you should be feeling back in control and a huge sense of relief. Hopefully your headache has gone away too! (Mine did – I went through this exercise just this week with a major deadline).
So that’s it. Simple but not easy. Try it and let me know if it helps you feel less overwhelmed.
Listen to your numbers, read their story, and watch your business Bloom.