3 steps I take to deal with overwhelm

3 steps I take to deal with overwhelm

“Ugh I just have too much to do I can’t keep it all straight”.

To do list and timer

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard friends and coworkers tell me this recently i’d have $5.

I spent an hour with a friend to help them get on top of their commitments, and out of the stress spiral. Most of the tips I shared with them are here.

Have you been in a stress spiral? It’s kind of like being in a horror movie. You’re taking a lot of action putting out urgent fires but you have this…

F E E L I N G

That there is something big, and bad, lurking just outside of your awareness. It fills you with a little bit of dread.

It sucks. It’s unnecessary. I’ve talked about stress inoculation before. It’s why I took the time to help them and now, help you.

3 Steps

As promised these are 3 steps I use to dig out of that terrible town of overwhelm:

  1. Accept it
  2. Decide to handle it
  3. Grab a pen & paper & capture it

Accept it

Skip this step at your own peril. Without embracing reality, and all of its “I’ve got too much to do”-ness, you won’t actually be in the state of mind to complete the remaining steps.

Decide to handle it

Not every problem needs solving. In fact, there are people who love the problems that they have! We are going to assume that you are the type of person who completed #1, and have decided to do something about it, which takes us to…

Grab a pen & paper & capture it

All you need is something to write with, and something to write on. You are going to write down every single thing that currently has your attention. Write down whatever you have on your mind. If it helps, set a timer for 10 minutes and get after it.

When my friend did this, they thought 10 min was too long! They ended up writing down 42 items total.

Once you have completed those steps, look at what you’ve captured all in one place. How does it feel to no longer juggle all of that stuff in your head? What will you do with that clarity?

The Author

Sean Oliver

Sean Oliver is a product marketing manager in Seattle, WA