Sometimes there’s just too many things for us to do. Life gets in the way and there’s always something cropping up. We try and keep track of the tasks we need to complete, but the list always grows.
There comes a time when we’re just overwhelmed. I felt like that over the last week. New projects came up and I tried to keep up. I couldn’t and I got demotivated. I started slacking because all I could think of was how much work there was to do. I even skipped the gym for three days in a row.
The worst part is it’s a vicious cycle. You get overwhelmed and you fall short. The tasks keep piling up and you get even more overwhelmed. You just feel like giving up on it all, and you sit back and do nothing. The brain just says, “Too much to do. Screw it. I’m going to check out what my friends are up to on Facebook all day.” Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt overwhelmed and simply lost motivation to do anything at all. It’s a horrible feeling compounded by the fat that you just lost an entire day doing nothing.
But there is something you can do! There’s a way to stop that paralysing effect of feeling overwhelmed and motivate yourself to get back in the game. Here’s how you do it
-1) Identify – Identify the feeling. Realise that you’re feeling overwhelmed and that you think there’s just too much work and too little time. Understand that it’s only a feeling, and there’s actually a lot of time for you to complete your work. Don’t give in to despair and don’t get demotivated.
2) Meditate – Your brain is coming up with different ways to tell you how you’ll fail because there’s so much to do. You’ve already identified that feeling and you know you have time. Take a few minutes to simply calm yourself down and stop thinking of what you have to do. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and count your breaths till you reach 100. If you find your mind wandering back to the work you have, simply reel it in and resume counting.
3) Organize – Create a task list of all the work you have to do. A simple pen and paper will do. Just note down everything that comes to your mind. For every task, try and break it down into smaller sub-tasks. When you break it down like that, the task seems a lot easier.
4) Reduce – Not everything on your task list is important. In fact, we tend to burden ourselves with tasks that aren’t necessary at all. Some of those tasks can very well be eliminated. Take a good hard look at your list and ask yourself if you really need to do some of the things on there. And if there are somethings that must be done but don’t have to be done by you, you can find someone else to do them.
5) Prioritise – Hopefully you have a much smaller task list than when you began. Now it’s time to prioritise them. The most important tasks come first. It might help to separate them into two lists. The first list is where you put all the tasks that need to be done today starting with the one that needs to be done immediately. The second list contains tasks that can be done tomorrow or the day after that.
6) Take action – Now things don’t seem so overwhelming do they? You’ve got a nice little list of things to do today so get started with the first task. The key is taking action. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you suddenly have time to kill. Get your tasks out of the way or you’ll simply fall back into the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself. We put ourselves in this situation by setting really high standards of ourselves. It’s alright to do a little less, as long as you do something. You can’t complete a 100 tasks in a day, so don’t set yourself 100 things to do and then beat yourself up for not doing it.
I hope this quick exercise helped you. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything else you do to motivate yourself when you feel overwhelmed.