August 12, 2022

Feeling overwhelmed?

There are just too many things to do: too many projects, toomany different people wanting different things. It feels like there is no waywe can get everything done that we need to get done, and it's affecting our calm,happiness and maybe even our sleep.

When we launched a new website and a new booking system atSolutionsAcademy, Murphy's law struck: Everything that could go wrong wentwrong. All the tasks generated by our efforts to get the new system to work addedon to already existing full calendars and to do lists. This was a momentarysituation, but it needed to be managed. If you are experiencing overwhelm allthe time, you might not want to manage your feeling of overwhelm, but you mightlook at changing your situation, instead.

In any case, here are some of the things that helped me stayafloat. Maybe they are useful for you, too. And of course, I know that this isvery personal, so you might have different strategies 😊.

Create an overview

The first thing that was helpful was to create an overviewof all the tasks and projects that needed to be completed. From David Allen’s “Gettingthings done”, I learned that it is very helpful to sort tasks into projects andto have only one repository for all projects and tasks. This way, every morningwhen I looked at my Asana To Do List, I noticed that it is a lot, but I thoughtit is possible to manage the most important things. Even if it didn't seempossible to manage, this list enabled me to prioritize.

Priortize ruthlessly

Every morning when I looked at my To Do List, I prioritized ruthlessly.I started with a decision on what absolutely needed to get done on this day.This doesn't mean that I started with those tasks right away, but I scheduled atime on that day to get the tasks that were urgent done. I also looked at thecoming days to see if I needed to start on something that was scheduled forgetting done later.

Go with your energy

When I was scheduling my tasks for the day, I also looked atmy energy. I am a morning person and therefore I need my morning hours to doimportant tasks that need thinking. Late afternoons and evenings are best spentdoing more mindless tasks like bookkeeping, sorting things or other mentallyundemanding activities.

Limit multitasking

I tried to work on one project at a time and not think aboutor look at other projects while I was finishing the current one. I only lookedat my emails on three dedicated times of the day and did not look at them inbetween. I finished one thing before I moved to the next one. Loose ends createa feeling of restlessness and stress for me.

There are some things that lend themselves to multitasking. Mostpeople can multitask on mindless, repetitive, automated activities: ironing andlistening to coaching recordings or vacuuming and listening to a podcast. Anythingthat does require some thinking is not something I can personally multitask on.If I try, it always results in becoming frazzled and hurried.

Take care of your body

In a period of stress and overwhelm it makes sense to takecare of our body: Eating well, moving sufficiently and limiting the intake of self-medicationlike alcohol. Good sleep hygiene also helps: limiting blue screen-light beforebed and a regular sleeping pattern.

Take care of your mind

In periods of overwhelm, it is difficult to relax, eventhough we need it the most then. There are a few things I discovered to behelpful:

·        meditation

·        watching a funny movie

·        talking to friends

·        sitting in nature

·        going on walks

·        listening to audio books or podcasts

For me the main thing was not to add insult to injury: whenmy mind was racing, I was not judging myself for it, just noticing it: “Aha, mymind is racing, it is a busy time”, rather than berating myself for not beingable to quiet my mind. This is where the audiobook came in (if you are curious,it was “The Hojin Murders” by Seishi Yokomizo).

Hoping to have given you some good ideas – what do you dowhen you feel overwhelmed?

Come and join us for one of our free meetups and exchangeswhen you are feeling overwhelmed – we always have a bunch of coaches presentwho are willing to help. Otherwise we are happy to exchange ideas, cases,answer questions about our courses or anything else that you might want todiscuss related to coaching or coach education.

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