Are you feeling overwhelmed? Maybe you’re having a panic attack, or a sudden desire to curl up under your desk in a fetal position and cry. Now what? First, recognize it is ok… overwhelm happens. There are millions of people across America right now crying in the restroom or screaming like little girls behind their closed office doors. It doesn’t have to be like this. You can lose that overwhelmed feeling without a prescription. It just takes a pad of paper and a pen. Let’s take action to get your overwhelm fixed.
1. Create a list. Write down (on paper) everything you need to do. This is critical, because a big part of overwhelm is the mental energy of constantly thinking of all the things you need to do. Once you’ve written it all down, it will release the need to remember, and the fear of forgetting, and a huge chunk of the stress will go away.
2. Next, look for “combo packs”— are there any tasks that can be done simultaneously or more efficiently if they are grouped? Maybe you can write all your emails and make all your phone calls at the same time. What about filing and mail? Make the first group by putting the number 1 next to each item that can be grouped together. Then make the next group and put a number 2 next to each item in that group. Keep repeating until the entire grouping is down. Now put a number next to each remaining items. This will tell you how many real actions you need to take. This often gives you even more relief since there is less to do then when you first wrote everything down.
3. Put a dollar sign next to anything that will result in income for you in the next 30 days. You can prioritize by date, amount of money, the likelihood a client will fire you, time it will take to complete the task or whatever other criteria will ensure you tackle the right project first.
4. Put a smiley face next to anything that is for a client or prospect. Note some things will have both a dollar sign and a smiley face.
5. Put a star next to anything that is due today. Some things will have a smiley face, a dollar sign and a star—like a Vegas slot machine, only without the bells and quarter slots. Start here… do these tasks or jobs first. I guarantee crossing them off the list will ease your overwhelm levels immediately.
6. When you start with the smiley, dollar, and star tasks, if there are other things in that group, do them too.
7. Next, do the dollar sign and star combo items, since this is stuff that will bring you money and keep your business alive so you have an office to scream in from time to time.
8. Next on your list are the smiley sign and stars tasks, since this is client stuff.
9. Next is not stars, believe it or not. This is urgent stuff but not important (it doesn’t impact your income or your clients), so your job here is to delay these items. Make the call or email to get you more time, do whatever you can do delay them.
10. Next do the dollar signs. Then next do the smiley faces. Then do the stars. And then do the rest of the list.
See? Your overwhelm levels have just dropped significantly and you’re back on track. You may not feel like you can kick back with a beer and a bag of chips just yet, but you’re getting closer.