It is one thing to be in the feeling of overwhelm, and it’s another to recognize that is where you are and not know what to do about it. As busy, accomplished professionals, we certainly have a lot going on at home and at work, not to mention a global pandemic that just hasn’t gotten the message that it’s time to go!
We have been shoring ourselves up with the message that “I can handle this,” “I’m a strong woman, and I’ve been through worse,” or telling ourselves that “It will pass.” And it will pass, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some adjustments that can be made in the meantime to help you out.
If you are to the point that you know you are overwhelmed and don’t have the bandwidth to keep up the pace, then what can you do?
Glad you asked!
Get “Clarity” on what’s most important right now.
Step out of the all-or-nothing mode of thinking; that’s where you think everything is carved in stone. It’s not. When you’ve got a lot going on, and you’re feeling swamped, everything is in flux. You’re at the point of “something has to give,” and you need to let it.
Whatever you are dealing with, whether that be an illness, a cranky boss, a divorce, kids going through a difficult phase, unrealistic expectations at work, or anything else…that is a priority. If it has shifted your outlook enough that it’s causing you stress, then you need to put some attention there.
Right now, someone I love dearly is dealing with a sudden diagnosis of cancer. But isn’t that how it goes? One minute you’re okay, and the next, you have the rug pulled out from under you. The illness takes a lot of bandwidth, and the increased energy it will take to focus on treating it has to come from somewhere else. People are already rallying around her and prepped to step in and help when she starts treatment, and she knows she needs to let them, even though she is the most self-sufficient of humans!
You may not be dealing with a cancer diagnosis, but if it’s weighing on you or stressing you out, a shift needs to occur. So, what else is essential in your life? What is it that you won’t sacrifice? And, it can’t be everything. You want to prioritize where you will put your time and energy because it can’t go everywhere.
Three is a good number. It’s doable and manageable, not overwhelming. What two other areas of your life will you put your energy into, and for the rest, put it on the back burner on a simmer?
For me, I’m flying home to be with my family and help support them as we all surround the one we love. I’ll take on the care of my grandson. That is my focus, my family. It’s also on my business, but how I run it will have to shift a bit. I’ll be writing, coaching, and emailing on nights and weekends or while the little guy naps (he is such a cutie, but he’s not a dependable napper!). Number three is my health and fitness, and I make sure I take the time to plan my meals because if I’m not taking care of myself, I certainly can’t take care of anyone else. That’s my 3.
What will your 3 be?
So, it’s relatively easy to decide what you will focus on, but how do you go about it?
Ask for help.
I have found that people love to help others, and if you come across someone who doesn’t want to help, they aren’t your kind of people. Now, for some of you, it’s tough to ask for help, so let me give you some ideas to get you going in the right direction.
- Have a conversation with your boss. If whatever is going on is enough to stress you out or distract you, they have a right to know. Be as open and frank as you can about how it impacts your work and what help you need to navigate it. You have a personal life and a professional life, but you are one person, after all.
- Do it, Delete it, or Delegate it. Make a list of everything you have on your plate. At work, home, and with whatever else you have going on. List everything out and get it all out of your head. But, don’t stop there because just looking at it will stress you. You next need to divide the list into 3 buckets. Bucket #1 is the “Do It” bucket. That means it’s yours to take care of. Bucket #2 is the Delete It bucket. That means it goes off the list, at least for now (or gets a much lower priority). Bucket #3 is the Delegate it bucket. That means it gets handed off to someone else. It could be given to another person to do, or hire a service to take care of it. Remember, it’s not a permanent solution; it’s a temporary one.
You’ve got to let go when you don’t have the bandwidth to get it all done. If you have something stressing you or weighing on you heavily, then you’re probably swimming in uncertainty. I don’t know about you, but I really hate uncertainty. I used to say that I didn’t mind change as long as I knew what would happen. Yes, I’m a recovering control freak, and sometimes I relapse, like when my family member was diagnosed. But I also know that I’m not that omnipotent that I can control everything. So sometimes, you have to trust and let go.
I hope these tips help you. Be good to yourself, and until the next time, here’s wishing you the Clarity you deserve.