3 Tips to Combat Overwhelm
Most of us live in overwhelm. It is endemic in our society. And it is getting worse. If you
Google "Overwhelm in America" you get almost 2 million results.
Overwhelm drains us of our energy - both physical and mental/emotional; it robs us of our self-esteem; and like
compounding interest, it digs us into an ever-deeper hole.
What if we could learn to get more done without being overwhelmed? I believe that it is possible.
Here are three things you can do to start paring down the overwhelm.
1. Learn to say "No".
Too many of us try to live up to
the "SuperMom" or "SuperDad" or "SuperHero" expectations of others. As has been said before, you CAN have it
all, you just can't have it all at once.
How much of your overwhelm would be reduced if you learned to say "I'm sorry, I just can't do that right
For any situation outside of a request by your boss (or his boss), you don't owe an explanation, either.
(Unless, of course, you had already agreed to it.) You own your time and you don't HAVE to explain to others
why you are choosing how you will use it.
Strictly speaking, you don't owe an explanation to your boss, either, but be prepared for him to decide that he
can dispense with your services.
Also, for families and others you live with a lot, an occasional explanation makes for smoother living.
Remember, smoother living reduces overwhelm, too.
One reason for not giving reasons is that many people take it as an invitation argue with you or convince you
that the reason isn't valid... and that you SHOULD do whatever they are asking you to do. By withholding a
reason, you reduce the overwhelm associated with having to defend your decision... and you reinforce your
...the less we like a task, the sooner we should address it and the
faster we should work on it.
2. Learn to "Do it now".
Many of us put things off until
later... and those things keep growing in size until we can't bear to address them. Of course, most of the
time, the monstrous size and the loathing it generates is all in our own minds.
By putting it off, we let it sit on the sidelines and grow worrisome and rob us of our joy. Had we
simply addressed the thing when we first got it, it would be done and gone, with hardly any effort.
A rule of thumb... the less we like a task, the sooner we should address it and the faster we should work on
3. Major on your strengths.
Ever notice how you don't
feel overwhelmed when you are working on things that you are good at? Even if you are crazy busy, it doesn't
One reason for this is that you know what you are doing... and how to do it... and you are confident in yourself
and in the outcome. You KNOW that you can handle it... and that the results will be good.
That leads us to conclude that it is the demands on our time and in our lives that require things we aren't good
at that bring us to overwhelm.
That means that we can reduce our overwhelm by managing the demands on our time and rechanneling things to our
Most of the time, when I suggest this, I get pushback. I hear objections of every sort as to why that
won't work. If you reject this out of hand, without trying to find ways that it WILL work, then you are
right. And then, all I can say is, enjoy your overwhelm.
I recently had a mother explain one of the contributors to her overwhelm... school was starting up again and she
had to get her three daughters (each on a different campus) to school, back, and to extra-curricular activities
while running her business (that had to stay open while she was doing the ferrying.)
In her mind, there was no alternative. As you might guess, being Mom's taxi was not her strength, but her
business was. However, once she started exploring how she could work out a carpooling arrangement (including
bartering some of her business services in lieu of doing some of the carpool driving), the overwhelm began to
Like her, you will never know what you can do until you try.
Having problems with saying "No" or with figuring out your strengths? Perhaps the problem is that you need
a stronger "YES" to help you out.
Our Mission Discovery program is designed to help you identify your
strengths and your core drivers (mission). When you have this identified and in place, it is much easier to
say no to the things that steal your time and contribute to overwhelm. Instead, you are following the greater
"Yes" that results in joy, refreshment, and energy... just by doing the things you were built for.
Click here to sign up for the Mission Discovery program and start finding
your "YES!" to living.