One of the best tools for getting us out of that place of negativity that pulls us down is to take stock of all that we are grateful for in our lives. It is so easy to become overwhelmed by all that is not going well that we forget about all the things that are. We can very quickly become stuck in a downward spiral and this is when we need the tool of gratitude to break the cycle.
So take the time right now to write down a list of 100 things that you are grateful for and see what happens. Here are some ideas to get you started …
- Warm and dry house to protect you from the elements
- Hot water for your shower this morning
- For the ability to walk
- For wonderful friends
- For the food you have to eat in your cupboards and fridge
- For the money you have in your bank account
- For the “thank you” you were given yesterday for something you did for another person
You get the idea…?
To help build your gratitude muscles you can also turn this into a daily habit and end your day by writing out a list of 5- 10 things that you are grateful for. When you first start this exercise it may be very difficult to think of things especially if you have just had a “bad” day however when you persist you will find it becomes much easier and that your focus starts to shift from all that is not going well in your life to all that is.
Overwhelm seems to be the disease of the 21st century – everyone experiences it at one time or another. It seems to be a default setting that we flick into especially when our resistance is low.
So what is overwhelm? According to the dictionary it is to load with too great an amount, to defeat completely, to overcome and to make helpless.
So what can we do to remove this sense of helplessness and return to a state of feeling empowered once again. Here are some ideas…
1. Let the lists go. I am a great advocate for getting things out of our heads and down on paper however there comes a point when we have so much down on paper it can feel like there is just too much to do. So without looking at your lists choose one thing to focus and take action on right now that feels right for you. Put everything else to the side until that is completed.
2. Finish all your unfinished business. Take on no new projects until you have some completed some or all of the projects that are incomplete. There is a lot to be said for multi tasking however in reality often we are more effective when we focus on one thing at a time, so choose that one thing that will make the biggest difference for you right now.
3. Clear your desk. When we are in overwhelm we will usually have lots of “stuff” scattered on our desks or around our work space. Attend to everything on your desk or in box by filing it an organised way that makes sense to you. I tend to create a project folder to capture all the thoughts and bits of paper or documents lying around so it is all in one place when I do sit down to focus my attention on that topic.
4. Do it now. When in overwhelm I often think of an admin assistant I know who will always deal with stuff there and then when she can. She is a great role model for efficiency. I have a tendency to put things to the side with the intention of coming back to them however it can be difficult to find the time to come back – it can be much easier to deal with something straight away when it is in your hand – so get into the habit of making the decision there and then about what needs to happen with that email or document and do it straight away when possible.
5. Stop beating yourself up for being in overwhelm. Everyone experiences overwhelm and we all come out of it again, usually much quicker when we start to talk to ourselves in a much kinder and gentle way. Reach out for support to regain a healthy perspective – talking it through with someone can give you the clarity you need to shift it and if overwhelm is a constant companion consider working with a coach to completely change this habit.
6. Use the Bach Flower Essence for overwhelm – Elm can be purchased at a health food store, is completely natural, easy to take and very effective when you need some extra support.
If you are like me you will find it is very easy to start lots of projects, sign up for lots of courses, and read lots of books. You might find yourself jumping from one idea to the next and not actually focusing fully on anyone thing. And when we have lots on the go at one time like this it is guaranteed to lead to that sense of overwhelm that so many small business owners experience.
So what is the secret to getting out of this place of overwhelm?
- Firstly make the decision to stop taking in or gathering any more information, tasks or things to do.
- Secondly do an audit – where have you been investing your time, money and energy? What’s been useful, what’s not, what needs further development? Where do you need more information or do you already have enough information? Is it it time for you to stop thinking, learning or planning and just take action?
- Then create a list of the priority areas you want to develop or complete as a result of what you have learned.
- Make the decision to focus on 1 – 3 of these projects until they are complete.
It is a wonderful skill to be able to multi-task, however it can also be a limitation if we are so busy doing lots of things but never actually get anything completed to a point where it is of any use.
By spreading our attention over too many projects we dilute our ability to be successful.
Becoming more focused, choosing one project and completing it to a level that can be useful builds confidence and belief in our ability to be successful.
So what projects have you started and never completed properly? Choose one thing today which you can complete to give you that sense of satisfaction and trust in your ability to be truly successful in all that you do.
What is a day’s work? Do you have any idea of how much work comes across your desk each day? Do you have any idea if it is realistic to expect yourself to complete all of this work as well as all the projects you want to action in any one day?
If there is too much stuff coming in you will never get on top of your workload. Your to do list will keep growing even as you complete items on it and the sense of overwhelm will rarely disappear.
I have been working with some new techniques from a book by Mark Forster called “Do it Tomorrow” in an effort to get a realistic picture of what a days work is for me.
This week I have been trying the idea of creating a closed list of activities so that I actually get that sense of completion as I close up my business at the end of the day. This closed list is created by all the emails , mail, paperwork, voice messages and requests that come across my desk “today”.
Put simply I action nothing today unless it is urgent, everything gets written on my list for tomorrow. So what I end up with is one days worth of work for the next day which is closed off at the end of the previous day. Nothing new gets added on unless it is an emergency.
If I am able to complete my list I know that I have a good balance with incoming work and projects that I can handle, without undue stress. If there is uncompleted tasks I know I have taken on too much and need to learn how to reduce the amount of work that I have to deal with.
One of the most common causes of feeling overwhelmed is thinking that we have to do everything ourselves. As we struggle through our days with our huge to do list it is very hard to find the space to take a step back and reflect on our business or life.
The good news is that learning how to delegate can create more freedom in our days. As usual the first step is awareness – start by observing how you handle tasks on your list today. Ask yourself is there anyone else who can do this activity for me.
Immediately all the reasons why you can’t ask someone else to do the task will spring to mind – one of the biggest excuses will probably be it is quicker to do this myself.
Learning to delegate takes time and a willingness to do things differently. The driving factor to learn this new skill will be your desire to have more free time to develop your business and yourself.
So how much do you really want to have more free time and what exactly are you willing to do to make it happen? Call/ text Heather on 0212 406 535 or email email@example.com for support and resources to help you on your way.
When you are self employed or in a management position there are often a lot of different roles that you have to fill each day – lots of different details that you need to think about in each of these roles and it can be hard to know what action to take first.
Do you find yourself holding a lot of thoughts and ideas in your head?
Holding it all in your head very quickly leads to overwhelm and confusion and can cause you to feel paralyzed.
A key factor in success is being able to get all this information out of the head to create the space that is required to make good decisions about what do next. Here are three suggestions to help you…
- Ask a trusted family member or friend if they would be willing to just listen without judgement allowing you to pour out all your thoughts.
- Write it all out on paper – I am a regular journaller and find that by taking 15 min at the start of the day, or when needed, I can clear my head and get the clarity necessary to continue achieving my intentions.
- Use a coach – through powerful questioning a coach can enable you to empty your head and make sense of everything that needs to be processed so you can create the best solution to keep you moving forward. Call/text Heather on 0212 406 535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for that extra support.
So, go ahead – clear your head and have a great week!