Overwhelm has increasingly become a part of our lives, and this is why we need to dive deep into this topic. When we feel overwhelmed, meaning feeling stretched thin or overstressed, we are left absolutely depleted and with no space left for us to be productive, to be happy, and to grow. Overwhelm is essentially like being stuck in a survival loop.
So what do we mean by being stuck in a survival loop?
When there’s no space for you, you’re not going to feel motivated to change anything about your life because you get into this loop of simply surviving each day. When you’re in that survival loop, you there’s very little chance you have energy for anything else except get through the day.
When you are in a state of overwhelm, it’s easy to stop caring about your health or to stop exercising. Many of us stop pursuing our hobbies and interest that we love because we simply don’t have the room or energy for it. You may also find that you easily start to get angry or defensive or reacting in a way that’s unpleasant, which will later make you feel guilty or shameful. This can lead to beating yourself up about it later and then the cycle repeats. This is truly an awful feeling.
It’s crucial to eliminate overwhelm from your life to create enough space to bring in all the good things in life like love, joy, laughter, patience, compassion, understanding, and gratitude. But when you’re in a constant state of endless hurry and survival, then all those really wonderful feelings and emotions will get pushed off to the side.
This is why it’s so crucial for us to see overwhelm for what it is. It’s a lie that we’ve bought into. But that just means it’s a belief system which we have the power to change. We can start making space in our lives for what really matters to us once we change this belief. When you do make the space, then things will begin to change. For example, having the time and energy to be fully present with your children, and connected with your family. Ch
When you have space for yourself, every person that you encounter benefits. I believe that when we change ourselves, we do change the world, and in a big way!
Overwhelm is a belief, and it’s important to remember that a belief is just simply a thought that we’ve been thinking over and over so many times that it’s no it’s imprinted in our brains as a belief.
To change it, we have to first be aware that it exists. We can then start to intentionally think of a different thought as we form a new belief. So let’s say that you’ve decided to change your belief about overwhelm. You’ve committed to not buying into it anymore. Maybe your new belief is to be joyful and feel more happiness each day while being productive, and never want to feel overwhelmed again. That’s the first step.
Next, once you’ve made this decision to form a new belief, then you’ll have to deal with reality. Reality is going to come knocking on the door in the form of a big To-Do list. Maybe you’ve taken upon gobs of projects because you didn’t know how to say no for whatever reason, and you may think, “Alright, this is all great, I want to change this belief. But how do I unbury myself from this mess that I’ve created? How can I not be overwhelmed with this huge list staring at me?”
That is a great question to ask because we always want to ask questions that empower us. Your brain is going to answer your questions and present you with tons of proof as to the root causes of your issues, which might again keep you in that negative loop.
So instead, we want to teach our brains to ask a question that will actually help us and empower us. This is an integral part of coaching where it’s important to ask questions to help clients get a breakthrough. This is something that anyone can do themselves in any area of life.
Power Questions are the questions that’ll help you channel positive energy by focusing on the things that actually matter to you and need to be changed.
Those questions are pretty awesome. So, you want to put your beautiful brain to work on answering those questions.
If you’re a business owner, maybe you might shut off the answers that may seem challenging initially. Perhaps you’re not good at sales or marketing but just shutting down those answers like that won’t help at all.
You should switch this perspective by reassuring yourself and saying that “I’m figuring it out. I’m figuring out how to get these answers or what these answers should be.”
Anybody can try out this simple exercise every single day by asking themselves one power question. Ask yourself a question and give yourself a little space while allowing those answers to flow. Honor whatever comes up for you.
So, when the reality might come knocking on your door as you try to eliminate overwhelm, remember the following: Ask power questions to get the answers that you need to move past it and be done with it.
Another thing that you can do is my Brain Dump exercise. You will love it. This exercise is so powerful that I do it with every client who’s in a totally overwhelmed state. It is the first step to follow since it clears up space in our brains to think.
Depending on how overwhelmed you are, you might actually have to do this daily until you get the hang of things, and that’s normal. You might only have to do it weekly or perhaps even monthly. This is about creating space. Technically, there’s no space in your brain if you’re trying to remember 800 things all at once. So, get it all out of your head and onto paper. If you need 10 sheets of paper, use 10 sheets of paper! It’s okay to use as much paper as you need.
You will need a planner to divide and prioritize your tasks for the Brain Dump exercise. Inside the Best Planner Ever, right before each monthly tab, if you just flip the monthly tab to the right, you’ll see the Brain Dump exercise on the left.
If you don’t have a planner, you can pick one up at the Best Planner Ever. We even provide additional blank sheets that you can download because, at times, you need a lot more space than what we have provided.
The worksheet is divided into two columns. On the left is where your brain dumps everything out of your head– personal, professional, or anything you need to do. Get it out of your brains and onto paper. Once it’s all on paper, we will end up with a massive to-do list and that’s not really going to serve us. That’s where you want to use the ABCDE system.
The ABCDE system is used to prioritize tasks as following:
A is a high priority task which moves your goals forward. These tasks may be a little intimidating, you may be procrastinating on them, but they are highly crucial. For instance, a phone call or a networking meeting, or even an email pitch to a client can be an A task. A tasks move you closer to your goals.
B-tasks are something important which you’re going to do at any cost. It might be a meeting with a client. It could be vendor meetings, employee reviews, anything that is important. Those are your B’s.
C-tasks are things that can be procrastinated and put off until later.
D-tasks are delegate tasks that involve asking for help. This could be asking your husband to wash the dishes or your kid to do the laundry or assigning people to your team. D is getting that stuff off your plate and not taking on so much.
E tasks need to be eliminated. Now, eliminate doesn’t mean having to quit on certain things forever. Sometimes, you can eliminate things off the list that just don’t fit the current quarter, and perform tasks in another quarter, or later. Or maybe you can get rid of it for good and eliminate it.
When I started diving really deep into productivity and listing my using the ABCDE system, I found I was putting a whole lot of C-tasks on my list. C’s were super easy to do and super easy to cross off, and I could feel accomplished because all the things got crossed off my list. However, the A’s are essential tasks and those were not getting done. As a result, I wasn’t seeing the progress on my goals that I wanted to see because the A’s were not getting done. So learn the difference between an A, B, and C priority task!
Once you’ve assigned a letter to each item on your massive list, you can start prioritizing it. This way, it’ll become more manageable and organized. You can schedule one or two A-tasks each day. But they don’t have to be for hours long and just be limited to a few minutes. The same is the case with B-tasks.
Again, C can be put off or grouped later. D is a delegated task in the Best Planner Ever. You’ll find an ABCD section on your Daily Planning Sheet, so even if you’ve delegated something, you can write it down there and check back in three days or a week later. Also, it works as a reminder to go and check on something that I might have delegated.
When we see these things on paper, it feels so much more manageable than trying to carry it around in our brains. From there, we can take the right action to help us be happier and more productive!
I highly encourage you to start asking power questions. Regularly do the brain dump exercise and make some space for yourself. When you clear space, then you have room for the things in life that really matter and you’ll realize that you never have to work in a state of overwhelm again.
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Jennifer Dawn has grown two multimillion dollar businesses and now mentors others to do the same. She is one of the select few nationwide Profit First and Provendus Growth Academy Certified coaches…
Profit First & Cash Flow Coaching
3 Secrets To Meet Your Goals Every Time plus business and mindset advice to reach your goals – fast.