Are you feeling overwhelmed by everything on your to-do list? When I have too much on my plate and not enough time to get it all done, overwhelm paralysis often kicks in. And then nothing gets done! If you’re feeling stuck in overwhelm, try these 5 tips to help you get unstuck.
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Have you ever suffered from overwhelm paralysis?
If you’ve never heard of overwhelm paralysis, let me fill you in.
You know that uncomfortable feeling you get when you think about how there is no way you will ever accomplish everything on your to-do list.
You may not even have a written to-do list. But instead, you have your to-dos floating around in your head.
Those thoughts then periodically appear to remind you of what you still haven’t done.
Can you relate?
Well, overwhelm paralysis kicks in when you can’t stop thinking about all that you need to do, but you just can’t seem to get it done.
Instead of checking things off your list, you check your Facebook feed, have a glass of wine, turn on a movie, or do something else to relieve the discomfort.
And your to-do list continues to grow. It may even start to grow mold. And then you are forced to deal with it.
If you’re stuck in overwhelm paralysis, I have 5 tips to help you get unstuck and start getting things done.
Tip #1: Just Breathe
Tip #1 is to just breathe.
Feeling overwhelmed is a symptom of stress. Stress, as you know, is the cause of many health problems.
When you are overwhelmed by everything you have to do, your body is producing too much cortisol. Over time, this increased cortisol can affect the way your brain functions and can lead to depression or other mood disorders.
The increased cortisol is what’s making you feel uncomfortable. Rather than relying on something external to relieve that discomfort, like a glass of wine or a movie, try relieving it internally with deep breathing.
Deep breathing can reduce the production of cortisol and have immediate effects on reducing stress.
So, how is deep breathing going to help you get things done?
It’s simple, really.
When you relieve the feeling of stress, your mind will be clearer and you can focus on your next action.
Tip #2: Brain Dump
Tip #2 is to do a brain dump.
Once you have your stress level under control, the next tip is to take all those thoughts swirling around in your head and put them on paper.
When you are too focused on the end result of everything that needs to get done, it prevents you from focusing on what you are capable of accomplishing today.
Take a few minutes and dump all of those thoughts on paper. You’ll find that the process of writing it all down is a stress-reliever in itself.
Now that you have everything on paper, you can start organizing it in order of priority.
Tips #3: Create a Priority List
Tips #3 is to create a list of priorities.
Once you have your brain dump completed, you might feel a little overwhelmed by everything on your paper.
Now it’s time to prioritize all of those things. I like to use my erasable colored pens to mark up my paper. I always circle high priority items in red.
This visual reminder will help you to realize that you don’t need to accomplish everything right now.
Once you’ve created your priority list, you can move on to creating a plan of action for each item.
Tips #4: Make a Plan of Action
Tips #4 is to make your plan of action.
A plan of action is exactly what it sounds like. You will start by writing out your end result, or your goal, for what you want to accomplish. Then, you can list out projects and next action steps to get it done.
When you create a written plan of action, you’ll reduce overwhelm. You can now focus only on the very next action to be completed rather than the entire project.
If creating a plan of action for each item on your list feels like too much, create plans of action for the items in red only.
Then at least once a week, review your priority list and create plans of actions as needed for the remaining items.
I’m an advocate of creating 90-day plans of action. I do this using my 90-Day Personal Growth Goal and Life Planner.
Tip #5: Take Care of You
Tip #5 is to remember to take care of you.
Prioritizing self-care is a surefire way to reduce overwhelm.
By taking time to care for your mind, body, and soul, you will feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally. When you feel better, you can accomplish a lot more.
What are you currently doing to care for you?
If you’re currently in a state of overwhelm, try working through these 5 tips. They will help you move past overwhelm paralysis and start getting things done!
With Gratitude and Joy,