Day to day life is busier than ever before for most people. Even with connectivity and remote working at an all-time high, most people find themselves taking on quite a lot. We’ve done it ourselves, promising this and that based on how much we could potentially do in a given period of time. The trouble is, with everything being so busy, you never know what might crop up, and before you know it, you’ve fallen behind. There’s nothing wrong with that in general other than the fact that if you can’t catch up right away, you potentially fall even further behind and find yourself literally overwhelmed.
Some people deal with the feeling pretty well and cope as if it was any other stressful moment. However, for some, the feeling of being overwhelmed can compound itself, and you find yourself falling even further behind because you have no idea where to start. It is tricky, but not impossible, and these 10 tips have been put together to get you back on track hopefully.
1. You Don’t Need to Do Everything Today
If you feel overwhelmed and you have perceived deadlines in mind – including those that you may have already missed, start by forgetting about them. You can’t change the past and instead should worker harder on making your future better – if that means forgetting that deadlines even exist then so be it. You might have planned projects based on estimated times and got it wrong. We’ve all been there. Either way, don’t feel like the way out of your fix is to attempt to do everything today. It rarely works out that way. Focus on the most urgent tasks and don’t be afraid to swallow your pride and ask for an extension if that’s what it takes.
2. You Need a Work-Life Balance, Even When Stressed
It can be tempting to attempt to get back on track with whatever you’ve fallen behind by devoting every waking hour to the projects at hand. However, these will ultimately only slow you down, and if you feel overwhelmed now, it can only get worse with this kind of approach. While you should strive to get something done, don’t forget to take the time to relax and reflect to ensure that your active hours are as productive as they possibly can be.
3. Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing It
Whatever it is that’s getting to you; it is safe to say that you started for a reason. Sometimes, when everything feels difficult, you need to remind yourself of just why you’re doing what you’re doing. It might be a plan for early retirement, extra money for a holiday or just to get the bills paid. If you can’t think of a good reason for doing something, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it after all, and you can immediately eliminate that stress from your life.
4. Break Down the Big Jobs
Bigger tasks are the most overwhelming. There is so much that you could do that you have no idea where to start with them. The best solution here is to break these tasks down into smaller ones. Not only will the overall job no longer feel as imposing, but the feeling of getting something done will cut the overall stress and give the sense of achievement that spurs you on to do the next part.
5. Give Your Body What It Wants
In stressful times, your body will make demands. It might want you to pause and reflect in silence, go for a nap or any number of other emotional responses. We’d be inclined to take your body’s word for it and do as it asks, as you’ll almost always feel better afterwards.
6. Don’t be Afraid to Say ‘No’ while Overwhelmed
If you feel like you have a mountain to climb, the chances are that you don’t want to make that mountain even taller. Learning to say ‘no’ is a difficult skill at the best of times, and it can be downright impossible while under stress unless you make a concerted effort. Clear your plate before you add more to it, and you’ll be in a much better position to deliver on your promises.
7. Take Time Out to Plan
Inaccurate planning probably contributed to you getting into this situation in the first place, so taking the time to re-evaluate and get it right can be time well spent. If you’ve missed deadlines or look set to and will require an extension, be realistic and use your planning time to determine exactly when you should be able to have something done. Most people you work for will be happy to say yes once but might start asking questions if you miss a deadline of your own setting.
8. You Don’t Have to Do Everything
People that subscribe to the theory that if you want something done right, you should do it yourself, typically get less done overall than those that are willing to delegate. Sure, it might not be exactly how you would have done it, but it is done. There are billions of people out there around the world – some of them are bound to be happy to help. Reach out for assistance if you need it, and it makes sense, and you’ll get through whatever ails you at double the speed or even faster.
9. Don’t Let Failure be a Driver
For those that get overwhelmed, a key contributor is the feeling that you have failed somewhere along the way in order to reach this point in the first place. We’re not going to tell you not to feel like that as it’s easier said than done. However, failure is part of the process and a learning experience. Only when you fail at the same things over and over again, do you need to start thinking about a change in approach.
10. Switch Off and Shut Down in the Worst Moments
You probably feel like every second counts when you’re behind. At the same time, things you often do easily can take 3 times as long, and that’s just as unproductive if you can take time out completely to freshen up. Go for a brain reset by thinking about nothing at all – you won’t be getting anything done, but you won’t be dwelling on the issues you face either, and this can be the perfect opportunity for a fresh approach to any difficulties you may encounter.