October 5th, 2015
4 Steps to Managing An Overwhelmed Life
Don’t you have had times in life when you are totally overwhelmed with office work and personal life, or struggled with poor health such that doing daily tasks become a tedious thing, or had certain commitments that may be frustrating, so much so that one day – you just wake up and felt so dead and emotionless? So you want to take yourself out of this world, to end the misery? Maybe you are really overwhelmed! Maybe you are even depressed. But whatever your situation is, here are some steps that you can take to cope with all these:
1) Be Realistic – Not all things will be completed
The people around you may say that you can do it, but the reality is that it’s impossible to cramp everything into your life and able to do it all. You have more tasks than you can get done in reasonable efforts and time. Plus, your workload may grow over time, perhaps your to-do list is never empty, or growing so much so that you even dare not open up the to-do list at all! Hence, the first step to regain your sanity, is to acknowledge that you cannot tackle all things. Be at peace knowing that some things must drop, some things must be left in its place and left there – undone. Can you overcome this first step of acknowledgement?
2) Sort out your Priorities in Life
As with all things in life, there is a need to prioritise. Prioritising provides a means for you to focus on what is most important to you. Do not let what is not important rob your time from what matters most. You cannot help everyone, you cannot do everything. So, practice priorities. Ask yourself – will this matter 1 week down the road? Does it affect you even if you don’t handle it? Are there grave consequences if they are not tackled soon? There are two types of issues that you can quickly review- (a) things that will happen but will not or minimally impact your life (important part of life, that is); or (b) things that will happen/has happened anyway and you cannot do anything about it (i.e. out of your control). For (a), ignore them. For (b), manage it. For the rest, you can practice the Priority Grid outlined here in my previous post.
3) Learn to Let Go
If you are a near perfectionist or someone who denies having obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) but secretly knows you have a significant amount of it, sometimes the hardest is to let go and let be. Everything looks important, even the smallest issue and you will attend to it. If you don’t, you will feel incompetent or losing control. But that’s what is killing you. The result? You forget some things. And some of these are crucial. Important. Critical. They can be relationships, they can be people, they can be your children. So ask yourselves this – if this is not important, I must let it go for something more worthy to you. Yes – the keyword here – is worthiness.
4) Focus – Just Do It!
Once you have prioritised the tasks at hand, the next crucial part is focus and execution. Many a times, we are overwhelmed because we look at things as a whole. It’s like trying to boiling the ocean at one go. It’s like doing 100 things in the hour you have. What happens? You touch briefly on some of the tasks (and usually end up in the unimportant tasks because they were probably easier to do and takes less time), and at the end of the day, the important things were undone. This world promotes multi-tasking, but the reality is that you cannot do many things at the same time! We have 2 hands and 1 mind, and doing 1 thing 1 time is the way to go. So focus yourself, set aside 1 hour to just focus and get 1 important thing done. You will be glad because you will feel more in control, things actually get done (yes!), and the pressure is relieved.
So try this.
Work on it.
Repeat these 4 simple yet mindbogglingly effective steps and you will be on the way to a happier and accomplished life.