It looks like life is returning to normal. This means getting out of your PJs and off to work, juggling a million things, and complaining about not having time for everything you’d like to do. Perhaps, you’d like to start a new project, finish an old one, reconfigure the pieces of your life, family, hobbies, and dreams. But when everything hits you simultaneously and you feel overwhelmed, you get depressed, want to run away, and feel stressed; you quit before you even start.
Here’s a simple way to beat overwhelm before it takes hold of you.
Check your mindset. If you try to hold all the pieces in your head simultaneously, you blow a fuse. Naturally, you try to make a “to-do” list. You look at it, and your mind suddenly remembers more things to put on it… and you blow a fuse. The list is long, and you are short on time. Now what?
Start with the 27 things on your list and see if you can group them into categories. This is called chunking – my favorite way to organize my mind and my life. Your categories may be different projects (making a quilt, re-doing the backyard, organizing your next vacation). Or different areas of your life (kids, family gathering, losing weight, and staying healthy). Or different aspects of a single project (logistics, marketing, finances).
Once you have your chunks, make a list of things to do for each chunk. Then dedicate time every day, or one day per week, or whatever fits your schedule to work on A CHUNK. You only look at one chunk at a time, and you go all in! For this hour, for this day, for this week – go through all of the different tasks and puzzles to make progress in this one chunk.
What gets scheduled gets done. Pull out your calendar and carve out the time. Set it in stone. Your workouts are sacred. Your creative time is holy. Your future is worth it.
You can work on more than one chunk a day or a week, but you only work on one chunk AT THE TIME! Focus. Don’t let your mind wander off to other chunks. Keep distractions away. As soon as your permit your mind to change focus, overwhelm will sneak in, and time will be wasted.
Complexity is the enemy of accomplishment. Simplicity helps you keep moving forward. As you tick off each task in the chunk at hand, you feel the momentum of progress and build self-efficacy. You feel empowered. You feel productive.
As you maintain your focus, you feel centered and purposeful.
As you work your way through your chunks, you feel your successes stack upon each other. You look back and appreciate how far you’ve come.
Rinse and repeat. You’ve got this!
Valentina Petrova has helped people with life, health, relationships, financial, career, professional, and business goals and challenges since 2015. You can reach her at valentinapetrovaconsulting.com.