If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on break. It was a self-imposed time out. Right after we moved into our new house, I reached a point where I was on overwhelm overload. Between getting moved in, family life, my volunteer commitments, my business, and my contract with the Navy, I hit a wall. Then I got the flu. Which caused me to miss a major conference I was scheduled to attend. The good news is, the two weeks I was down with the flu gave me time to reevaluate all that I was trying to accomplish in a day. And I realized, something had to give. Yes, I was doing a lot of great things, but I wasn’t performing at the level I wanted. I needed to take a step back and reassess how I use my time. Today, I’m sharing some of the steps I took to kick my overwhelm in the butt.
How To Kick Overwhelm In The Butt
Know Your Big 3
The Big 3 are the three most important things in your life. They’re the things you’re most passionate about or the goals you’re trying to accomplish. It could be family, church, business, spending time outside or a hobby. The things you want to focus the bulk of your time and energy. Stop and think about what your Big 3 are. Here are my Big 3
Identifying my Big 3 helps me to make decisions easier and more efficiently. When an opportunity comes my way, I’m able to determine if that thing will help or hinder my Big 3. If it hinders my Big 3, then that leads be to my next point.
Just Say No
Sometimes you’ve just got to say NO. And I don’t mean just to other people. I’m also talking about saying no to yourself, too and all the crazy things you want to say yes to. If you don’t put limits on things you spend your time and money on, you’ll overspend on both. There’ll always be a family event, kids sports, or work functions that will require some of your time. But it’s hard to find success when you’re being pulled in a bunch of directions. Sometimes you have to say no, so you’ll have time for your Big 3. I’m learning to say no more. I always want to help out, but there are limits to what I can get done in a day. Setting limits to the commitments I make helps me focus and keeps my stress low.
When you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to get distracted and off track. Scheduling the things you want to get down will help you accomplish what’s most important first. Once you’ve completed those tasks, then you can fill in your schedule with the others things you want to get done. Before I go to sleep, I review my planner to see what I have the next day. I usually begin my day with one or two of my Big 3 and have times set for the things I need to get done. With my Big 3 scheduled and done early in the day, it frees me up to focus on the other commitments I need to complete that day.
Sometimes You Need A Break
I’m the worst at this. I’ll keep going and going until I’m in the state of overwhelm. The problem is when you’re on overload you may be getting a lot of work done, but the results aren’t high quality. Your standards go way down. Taking a break allows you to come back with a fresh outlook and with more productivity. Once a week, I suggest scheduling downtime to recharge to keep the quality of your life and work high. I’m trying to make more time just to chill out and relax to avoid burn out.
Let Stuff Go
You have to drop the dead weight to break free from overwhelm. Let go of the stuff or habits that are holding you back. Just like lightning, your load before a PCS—purging the things in your life that you no longer need frees up time and space. You’ll feel lighter and have less stress. Start with junk in your house that you no longer want or use. Stop attending functions that you’re not passionate about. You’ll not only have the extra time to focus on your goals, but you’ll save money on gas. Also, limit time-wasting habits like Facebook or Pinterest. I’ve limited the time I spend using social media to help me focus. Letting stuff go, not only frees time and space, it just makes you feel better.
Value Your Time
Finally, remember to value your time. There are a finite number of hours in a day—it’s a limited resource. Therefore, use the time you have wisely to avoid overwhelm.
My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.
– Steve Jobs