Do you ever have days when your mind feels full of ‘stuff’, churning over everything you need to do? Fretting over the things you have started but not finished, wondering how you are going to fit them all into your day? How do you feel when this happens? I am guessing not very productive, and like a giant band is pulling you away from this feeling to do something easy or mind-numbing? If this is you, then I am guessing you might be trapped in overwhelm? How then, can you break free from overwhelming, and the uncomfortable feelings? Especially when falling into overwhelming becomes a habit and happens automatically. Furthermore, it is one reason why we don’t do the things we know we should. Like any habit, if it doesn’t serve us, we need to find a way to change it. Consequently, let’s look at a simple and effective way to create a better habit to replace overwhelming.
What’s the key to break free from overwhelm?
While getting organised and managing our time is key, too often we know what we should do, yet we don’t. We tend to be the thing that gets in the way of our systems working. Furthermore, we easily get distracted and as we are creatures with feelings, anything that feels uncomfortable or unpleasant is a trigger to move away from. Hey presto, we turn our attention to something else that gives us instant pleasure. Moreover, we then create a habit of avoiding important things rather than acting on what is really important.
The key is to discover how to manage yourself better, and in particular, work on managing your mindset. Only when you become more aware of what is going on inside your head can you change it.
- The energy of the mind is attention so where your attention is, determines how productive and effective you will be.
- Stop and ask yourself where is your attention? Notice what you are thinking about and simply observe them.
The four-step formula to break free from overwhelm
Now you are ready to use this simple formula to interrupt your cycle of overwhelm and avoidance. Imagine how FREE you will feel when you have a solution to move out of overwhelming.
F = Focus. Stop doing what you are doing and focus on your breath. Take a few deep breaths and you will notice your body starting to relax. Breathing consciously helps interrupt your stress hormones and stops the uncomfortable feelings. Now you can think more clearly. Next, make a list of all the unfinished “things” in your life. Everything that needs to be done and is blocking your path forward and causing you to be overwhelmed. List them into categories such as work projects, household tasks, people to call and any incomplete tasks. Write them all down on a piece of paper that you can readily see.
Take time to review each project separately and break it down into small steps
R = Review each unfinished task or project. Take each task or project one at a time and write down the steps necessary to complete them. Let’s imagine that you are stuck writing an ebook as the very thought of it causes you to feel overwhelmed. The steps might look like this:
- Create an outline of the e-book. Write a draft title and number of chapters.
- Make a heading for the introduction, write bio and endorsements
- Schedule time to contact someone to write a bio
- Research an editor or copywriter
- Find an illustrator (if you require illustrations)
- Schedule time to write chapter 1 – with a deadline
- Schedule time to write chapter 2 – with a deadline
- Investigate options for publishing the book -allocate time for this
Your brain is designed to be a focusing tool, not a storage bucket
Writing out simple steps helps break the huge task into smaller steps. And smaller steps or mini-goals are way more appealing to the brain. Moreover, our brains are designed to focus on things, ie goals, not about things. What this means is you can now focus on the next step rather than the size of the overall project.
Finally, remember your brain is not supposed to be a storage bucket. Moreover, when you use it as one you will inevitably fall into the habit of becoming overwhelmed.
E = Evaluate which task you can do right now and take action instantly. If it took you less than 2 minutes, find another one and take action now. Otherwise, make sure you schedule the next one or two tasks into your diary this week. Make sure you tick each task off so your brain will reward you with a motivating shot of dopamine.
Decide to take small steps consistently and tick off each step
E = Enter into an agreement with yourself to decide and commit to scheduling one or two steps every day. Moreover, make these non-negotiable. Small steps taken consistently will get long term results. Ultimately, they are the keys to break free from overwhelm and ultimately to create a new habit of forward action.
Why this method works
Firstly, it closes the loops in your mind. When you have unfinished or non-actioned tasks or projects they are like unfulfilled contracts or commitments with yourself. Furthermore, when you tell yourself that you need to do this or that things, it clogs up your bandwidth in your head. These thoughts literally play on your mind, churning around in your subconscious mind, depleting your energy. Moreover, the loops detract from your own sense of happiness and calmness and pull you further away from being productive. Interrupting this pattern simply by breathing is the first step. Next, writing things down clears your head and creates space for clarity which precedes action. All you have to do is remember the simple formula to break FREE from overwhelm, and of course, use it.
About the Author
- Curious how Mindset Coaching can help you achieve your results? Schedule a call on my online calendar. Reach out and let’s talk. Let’s see how together we can work towards helping you achieve the results you want and be your very best.
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