We all have experienced feelings of extreme overwhelm in our lives and businesses from time to time. The kind of feeling you might get if you were playing baseball and were up to bat and every player in the field was pitching a ball at you non-stop. A feeling like you can't possibly hit the ball well when there are so many balls being thrown at you at the same time. A feeling like you just want to throw the bat up in the air and hide, or perhaps even run away!
We often hit this common state of complete overwhelm in this day and age. When everything feels out of control, how do you press "Pause", regain control and hit a home run again?
5 STEPS TO ELIMINATING OVERWHELM AND
HITTING THE BALL OUT OF THE PARK AGAIN WITH EASE
STEP 1: STOP & BREATHE
Yes, I know that sounds elementary. Seriously though, when was the last time you actually STOPPED, closed your eyes and breathed? On purpose.
Do this right now. Stop. Close your Eyes. And take 3 deep belly breaths.
Open your eyes. I am certain you feel a lot of things right now. Hopefully your shoulders have come down a notch from your ears...some of you might even feel emotional. Our mental clutter is paralyzing. We need to give ourselves space to think, to be. Remember, we are human 'beings', not human 'doings'.
STEP 2: MAKE YOUR CLD LIST
The first step to regaining control is to organize and prioritize your TO DO list of tasks with my handy CLD system.
Click here to DOWNLOAD your free CLD TEMPLATE
If you are unable to download the template right now, simply draw 3 columns on your page. Label the columns left to right as C, L and D. Now take a hard look at your obligations, responsibilities, and tasks on your TO DO list and transfer those items into the appropriate column on your CLD list.
The first Column is your "C" Column - Your CRITICAL column. Transfer the things from your TO DO list into the CRITICAL column IF they are absolutely necessary to do right now. Your business could depend on them being done now, heads may roll if the things in the C list are not done (and maybe even your head!). If you don't complete the stuff on your "C" list there most definitely will be negative fallout. You get the idea. Only transfer those things to your "C" list that are truly CRITICAL (and I mean CRITICAL)!
The middle column is you "L" Column - Your LIKE TO DO list. Transfer the things from your TO DO list into the LIKE TO DO column if they are things that you would prefer to do sooner rather than later; if they are important, but not life and death. If they would make you feel good to have completed. Like to Do.
The third column is your "D" Column - your DEFER list. Transfer things here if you can Defer the items to a later date with no great fallout. These are "Someday" items. You will get to them one day. Open to that wise voice inside you that's telling you what you can afford to defer. Feel a sense of freedom by deciding what you want to do, not what you think you "should" do. Feel the sense of control that brings you.
STEP 3 : GET RID OF THE "D"
Okay, you have decided on your "D" List. Now it is time to put your "D" list out of sight. In a drawer. You have written the tasks down, and can come back to them at another time. Defer. In your current overwhelmed state, anything that you have placed on your "D" list is NOT important right now.
STEP 4 : FOCUS ON THE "C"
Usually I find that when overwhelm hits it is because I think there are too many things I have to do. Often, the paralyzing part for me is that ONE THING on my list is so huge that I have been putting it off, and it colours everything else on my list. Take a good look at your "C' LIST.
Ask yourself: "What ONE THING, if I managed to take a few bites of it, or complete it, would make me feel better, lighter?" Start with one thing at a time and focus on what is most critical right now. Break it down into bite-sized pieces. When that piece is complete, head into the next inning of the game and tackle another item on your "C" List. When you make your way through your "C" list head on over to your "L" list. And repeat!
STEP 5: TAKE A 7th INNING STRETCH BREAK:
You've been working hard. It is time to add one more item to your "C" List. Go ahead and add it right now - "Give myself a break". Hang up your baseball glove, put down your bat. Stand up; sing a lusty version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Eat some peanuts and spit the shells on the ground. Relax and enjoy the feeling of freedom. Life will go on!
As Yogi Berra said "The game isn't over until it's over"!