Overwhelmed Much? A Quick Guide On How To Deal
2019 started with a BANG! I have been super busy in all areas of my life. My days are filled with juggling work, personal obligations, the obligations for the HR organization I am on the board of this year, my blog and career coaching/resume-writing service. With so many things happening all at once, I literally felt like I was being pulled in 100 different directions. My mind was cluttered, I was very anxious all the time and I was exhausted. Something had to give! Two weeks ago, I decided to make some changes. I hope these tips will help you if you are feeling overwhelmed because I know I’m not alone, I’ve gotten feedback from my friends and associates that they have been feeling overwhelmed too.
List Your Tasks are and Prioritize Them
At work I have an ongoing task list that tracks the status of my tasks from start to completion. Each week when I meet with my boss for our one-on-one meetings, we go over my list. I usually have a handle on how to best prioritize my tasks and my boss will generally agree or will recommend I prioritize a task differently. This process works well for me and allows me to have a clear roadmap of what my week will look like, for the most part. In HR, no two days are ever the same and although there are always surprise tasks and requests popping up, the task list is still a great tool to help keep me on track. I also use task lists in my personal life as a tool for navigating my various activities and obligations.
Calendar EVERYTHING and Set Two Alerts
My calendar is an essential tool in my life because I have a lot going on. At work I calendar meetings, task reminders, recurring reminders and deadlines. On my personal calendar, I set reminders about basically everything including salon appointments, alumni events, family events, lunch dates and friend meet ups. On my personal calendar, I set TWO reminders for each calendar item. I usually set one to alert one or two days before the event and then another alert two hours before the event.
Identify Stressors and Limit Them
I realized that one of my biggest stressors were the constant notifications and messages coming through on my phone. For the past two weeks I have been setting my phone to the “do not disturb” mode or simply turning it off when I am at work or focusing on tasks. I now respond to messages in intervals. The stress and anxiety of responding to messages immediately has been removed and it feels great.
Limit Time-Wasting Distractions
My constant scrolling through social media had become a major time-waster for me. For the past two weeks I have deleted all social media apps on my phone and only check them in intervals. In my first week of cutting back my social media use, my screen time was reported to be down by 35% compared to the previous week. That was HUGE, and I felt it in my productivity level. I have been much more productive, and my mind has been much clearer because I am not preoccupied with social media and the content on social media.
Cut the Energy Vampires
An energy vampire is anyone who leaves you feeling drained every time you interact with them. These people are consumed with negativity that just sucks the energy out of every room and out of you. These people are often described as Negative Nancys, Debbie Downers or the Woe is Me types. If this sounds familiar, then I suggest that you preserve your energy for the interactions that leave you feeling re-energized. Cut the energy vampires and keep them at bay.
Delegate and Welcome Help
I have found that as my workload increases, I have been delegating tasks to others in the office who can handle them. I do not have to do everything alone. I had someone approach me to help me with the events I am planning for the SHRM organization I am Director of Programs for and I welcomed her with opened arms. Help from capable individuals is great and it allows me to focus more intently on the tasks that require my skills and expertise.
One of my main goals for 2019 is self-preservation. By self-preservation I mean not overextending myself or draining my energy by trying to be everything to everyone or being everywhere for everyone. There have been times when I simply have to say no. “No, I cannot go to that event this weekend.” No, I cannot help you with that task this week.” Just no. I have found that if I fail to set reasonable boundaries for myself, I end up committing to more than I can handle and then that feeling of being overwhelmed kicks in. I have reduced my stress level by not over-committing and setting unrealistic expectations.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Although I have a lot going on, I always acknowledge that they are all good things, and that I am grateful for all the good things. It is important for me to remind myself of this because I can become so consumed with the work, that I lose sight of how lucky I am to be able to do all these things. Developing an attitude of gratitude takes conscious effort but it helps to ground me when I start feeling overwhelmed.
Practice Deep Breathing Exercises
If you Google deep breathing exercises, you will find tons of resources on this. Practicing deep breathing exercises helps to clear my mind and reduce my anxiety and stress levels. It helps to re-center my thoughts.
I hope these tips will help to reduce your feelings of being overwhelmed as you navigate through your growing task lists!