Overwhelmed? Feeling Run over? Here's a quick fix!

Do you ever feel like you’ve just been run over by a car (or decided to lay down dramatically in the middle of the road?)  😉  You know when you’ve got a ton of stuff going on, you haven’t had a free moment to yourself for quite a while and your work is piling up figuratively and literally.  You walk into your office and immediately feel drained and a bit defeated.

Have you ever felt that way?  Do you kind of feel like that right now?

There is a sure fire fix that will get you back on your feet, energized, focused and ready to take on the challenges ahead of you.

Now this fix isn’t a permanent solution, although it can be done more than once and if it becomes a routine I’m pretty sure your productivity overall would improve.  I haven’t gone far enough down the path – at least consistently to prove the long term benefits, but I can assure you that my outlook this morning after doing this is much better than it was yesterday!

What makes us get so overwhelmed?

Before I get to the solution, I think it’s worthwhile to think about why we get overwhelmed with all of this stuff in the first place.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on what pushes you over the edge.

My observation (both of myself and people I’m around) is that there are several contributors – here’s a few that seem to be most prevalent:

  • Trying to do it all – work, kids, family obligations.  You just can’t physically put a gallon of liquid into a 2 quart container, it won’t fit and when stuff starts spilling out you stress about it which makes it worse. You might not want to hear it, but ultimately you have to prioritize and say ‘no’.
  • Having an element of perfectionism in everything you do.  This doesn’t apply to everyone, but there are a lot of people that will spend a huge amount of time on details that probably don’t really matter that much.  I’m not suggesting that it’s okay to just throw stuff together, but I would bet that there are some things that you do that could be a bit less perfect.
  • Unwillingness (or inability) to delegate things.  If you’re truly on your own, your options may be limited and you may not want to or have the money to spend on help, but you’ve got to be constantly looking for those things that you spend time on that are not uniquely suited to you (i.e. other people could do them without impacting the results).

The longer term fix for these kinds of things is to make a fundamental change in how you look at things and what you’re doing.  It’s likely you need to simplify and prioritize what you’re doing (there’s no silver bullet to make more time in the day, but you can learn what’s really important and just do those things…). 

That’s one of the benefits of working with a Coach – we’ll help you get focused and straightened out – which by the way, is a long term fix that can really add to your quality of life!

The short term fix for feeling overwhelmed

So here’s the fix I talked about above – it may sound hokey, but I promise you will get a lift out of it. 

If you’re like most people that are feeling overwhelmed, you’ve got a stack (or probably several stacks) of stuff just lying around your work area – and maybe your house.  Although you don’t realize it, those stacks are draining you every time you see them.  (Little paper vampires!).

I’m not saying you need to be a neat freak – if you’re not naturally a neat person, then that probably isn’t ever going to happen, but everyone can get a little bit more organized.

So here’s the specific tip…identify 1 corner of your desk, office or whatever area is nagging at you the most and clear it off.  Don’t just move it to another part of the office, but really deal with it.  Throw it away if it’s been there for more than a month or two and you haven’t touched it.  If you need to keep it, find a home that’s out of sight for it.

If you need to respond to something in the pile…well you might be in trouble (I did find a bill that was a bit old…) but better late than never.  But whatever it is, get it out of your sight and handled.

Allocate 10 or 15 minutes and then go do something else (like write a blog post).  If you’ve still got a mess around, do 10 or 15 minutes the next day.

You will get an immediate lift, a feeling of accomplishment and a bit of a feeling like a clean slate so you can really get started on other stuff.

Try it and let me how it worked for you – share your comments below.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach

3 thoughts on “Overwhelmed? Feeling Run over? Here's a quick fix!”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hi Shawn,

    This works…I know because I did exactly that today…cleared off the clutter. I love the “little paper vampires” you mentioned. Consider The Nimble Assistant a vampire slayer today!

    Thanks for the great info!


  2. Jennifer – thanks for the comment. Virtual Assistants as Vampire Slayers is exactly right – the trick is helping people find the right things to delegate out and get them to do it!


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