We are moving to another city in about 4 weeks and besides canceling our current contract and signing the papers for the new apartment we haven’t done anything yet.
The only thing we have in place is a solid plan.
Currently, I’m more focused on going to health check-ups, blogging and thinking about the upcoming swimming classes for my son and researching for the thesis to get my masters’ degree.
And you know what? Despite the fact that a lot is going on right now I don’t feel overwhelmed by all these things at all.
It wasn’t always the case that I felt so relaxed when I’d so much going on.
It took me some time to figure out that overwhelm is just a state of mind.
It’s just taking place in our minds and we can control whether we let ourselves overwhelm with our thoughts and feelings or not.
If you find yourself in a place of overwhelm right now because of all the things you have to do this post is for you!
In this post, I share with you how you can beat overwhelm right now and reach your goals.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- What is overwhelm
- Notice your thoughts
- Organize and prioritize
- Plan and schedule
- Take action
WHAT IS OVERWHELM
Overwhelm is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as
- “to be too much to deal with”
- “To overwhelm is also to cause someone to feel sudden strong emotion”
Now that’s great news and really good to know because usually, you can control both.
You can control:
- With how much you are dealing with and also
- How you are feeling
Let’s start with “how much you are dealing with”:
You can decide what you want to deal with right now and what you want to cancel, outsource, automate or postpone for later.
It doesn’t need to be done all at once.
Instead, you can use your smart human brain and decide strategically with your prefrontal cortex what makes sense to do now and what you can do later or not at all.
The other cause of overwhelm which is “to feel sudden strong emotion” you can control as well.
By knowing that neither the facts surrounding you nor the things happening around you cause you to feel a certain way.
It’s your thoughts that cause the feelings you are feeling.
Whether you are thinking a lot of positive, grateful thoughts and feel as consequence happiness arising within yourself.
Or you are thinking many fearful, negative thoughts and have the consequence, for example, the strong feeling of overwhelm.
It’s up to you what you are thinking and under your control which thoughts you are choosing.
You alone have the power to choose one thought over the other.
STRATEGIES TO BEAT OVERWHELM
I show you my 4 step strategy you can use to beat overwhelm.
It’s basically about:
- being aware of your thoughts
- and taking action
1.NOTICE YOUR THOUGHTS
Meditation is the best way to notice your thoughts but you don’t have to be a meditation pro to beat overwhelm.
Actually, there is another, easier way you can notice your thoughts without any experience in meditation.
But why even bother noticing your thoughts?
Because we all have around 60.000 thoughts per day buzzing around in our heads.
If those thoughts are mainly about your to do’s mixed with fearful and worrying thoughts, guess what’s happening?
You start feeling overwhelmed by them.
Just like having too many tabs open can slow down or even crash your computer so can too many thoughts about all the things you have to do lead to the feeling of overwhelm.
Instead of letting your thoughts about the things you have to do buzz around in your head take out a piece of paper and make a thought download.
Downloading your thoughts is a concept I heard from Brooke Castillo for the first time and truly love it.
Write down all those things going on in your mind about your to do’s onto a piece of paper.
By writing down all your must do’s, have to do’s and want to do’s you clear your mind from all the clutter before you start organizing them.
You can either just write everything down as it comes to your mind or what I prefer start downloading your thoughts per category.
It could be categories like health, business, or anything that’s going on in your life right now.
In my example right now these are also thoughts about moving and regarding my master thesis.
Basically, you download all the thoughts category by category.
2. ORGANIZE AND PRIORITIZE
After you’ve written down all your to do’s it’s time to categorize (if you haven’t downloaded in categories already), then to organize and to prioritize your thoughts on paper.
To do so ask yourself the following questions:
What are the next important things that I have to do?
And which are the things that I can outsource, delegate, automate, postpone or cancel?
For prioritizing your tasks I’d suggest using the Eisenhower or also called urgent-important matrix.
I’ve touched on the urgent-important matrix in this post before.
Feel free to read it to learn what it’s all about.
Basically, it’s a 4 square matrix helping you prioritize your tasks according to their urgency and importance.
3. PLAN AND SCHEDULE
After you’ve prioritized your tasks according to the urgent-important matrix it’s time to plan.
Take out your calendar and the urgent-important matrix and start planning out all the important things you have to do and want to do within the next 1 to 2 weeks.
Then start scheduling your tasks.
Decide for each task when you are going to do it and assign each task to an exact date and time.
Schedule all the things you want to do with the exact time and date in your calendar.
I like to set myself no more than 1 to 3 goal-related tasks per day to make sure that I’m able to do it for sure.
As a daily planner, I love using the high-performance planner.
4. TAKE ACTION
Once you have all your tasks scheduled in your calendar all you have to do now is to take action.
You can relax your mind and simply just do what’s on your calendar, take action every day and tick off day by day the to do’s you have done.
By repeating these steps regularly and continuously taking action you can eliminate your buzzing thoughts about your to do’s in your head and avoid to feel overwhelmed by them.
I like to make a thought download every two weeks and plan out my weeks upfront according to this method and definitely feel less overwhelmed as I used to before.
Use this method as frequently as you need it whether it’s every week or just once per month and you’ll probably notice a difference in how relaxed you are as well.
All tools I recommend and mention in this post at a glance:
- Eisenhower matrix is the tool I use to prioritize my to do’s according to their urgency and importance.
- High-performance planner is the daily planner I use as part of my morning and evening routine and to tackle my goal-related daily tasks. I’ve written a review on this planner here.
You might be also interested in How to reach your goals by using fear as your fuel and in How to create your best life.