Are these daily chores weighing you down and making you feel exhausted
- Meeting deadlines at work
- Dropping children to school
- Taking care of the plants and vegetables
- Washing the dishes and ironing the clothes, and
- Doing a million other things?
Do you wish you had MORE than 24 hours in a day?
In spite of putting all your effort, you find yourself achieving LESS?
At the end of the day, do you find yourself LESS PRODUCTIVE & MORE FRUSTRATED?
Then, you are a typical case of a person who is overwhelmed! But don’t worry. You are among the 74% of the people who feel overwhelmed when given a task. This would have passed off as any other piece of statistics if not for the accompanying one: these people are so very overwhelmed that they find it impossible to cope. This is what a 2018 online poll carried out by YouGov, for Mental Health Foundation in the UK, consisting of a sample size of almost 5,000, showed.
So, Why should the fact of getting overwhelmed matter?
- Those who are overwhelmed by day-to-day situations Eat, Drink, or Smoke a lot more, obviously, to relieve the stress
- They become Anxious and Depressed
- Many of them get extreme thoughts of committing suicide or inflicting self-pain.
In this blog, I am going to share a few tips that I am confident, will help you overcome the pressures of being overwhelmed, so that you are able to handle your work and life more smoothly and confidently. So, here we go!
In the course of explaining the 5 steps to feel less overwhelmed, I will be covering the following areas:
- Why do people get overwhelmed?
- 5 P’s framework for getting less overwhelmed and getting more organized:
Why do people get overwhelmed?
Let us get to understand a few of the many causes for which people get overwhelmed:
Don’t you think burden of meeting expectations should rate as the number one reason for which we get overwhelmed? Back in those days-by which I mean those days when people’s aspirations were lower-hurrying up, feeling anxious, feeling edgy because something was not done in time…all these were hardly heard of. Life went on according to the body clock nature provided for us.
Those days are gone. Sadly, we have created a world around us today where everything needs to be done NOW. Doing just our day-to-day work takes a heavy toll on our state of mind. Because of this, we get overwhelmed, and quite naturally so.
Comparing Ourselves to Others:
I had mentioned that my previous point is the number one factor for which people get overwhelmed. Maybe it has a serious competitor already! The one big byproduct of the post-industrialized world we live in is that we are all connected to each other through a number of technological devices. Social media has just added fuel to the fire. When we can pry into our virtual neighbor’s life, drawing a comparison is natural. If he is climbing up in his career, what on earth am I doing?
Alright, someone in my friends’ circles has delivered a child. Now, if I want to add a member to my family, the process is going to take months. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize such basic facts as this, and end up getting overwhelmed. Many a time, just setting expectations that are tuned to reality can make a big difference.
My 5 P’s framework for getting less overwhelmed and getting more organized:
How does one start getting less overwhelmed and getting more organized? Here are my 5 P’s tips for this:Tip #1:
Much of our feeling of getting overwhelmed is due to, as I just mentioned, the fact that we are constantly worried about what someone else is up to, or what some X, Y or Z is thinking about what we do in our lives. The moment you gain perspective of the fact that their life is theirs, and yours is yours, much of the feeling of getting overwhelmed can ease.
Psychiatrists are agreed that learning to accept facts about what we can and cannot do is more helpful than pushing ourselves into doing things we cannot, all of which only adds more pressure on us. Accepting your situation and being present in the moment helps you ascertain what resources you have to deal with your situation.Example: So, you are getting worked up because you want a well-known actor’s six-pack abs? Get a perspective on whether you need to do this. For him, the six-pack abs are a matter of survival for him in the industry, but is it the same for you? Think about how the famous actor has his enviable, skateboard tummy. It is because working towards it is the ONLY work he has, while you have an unlimited number of things to do. Understanding fundamental facts such as this helps you put things in perspective and takes a heavy load off your shoulders.
Bonus: I want to present a video to help you get a firsthand understanding of what makes a person overwhelmed and how it can be sorted out. Happy viewing!Tip #2:
The next tip I want to talk about to avoid getting overwhelmed is prioritization. A lot of stress can be taken off the moment we chalk out an order of doing things. There is no point in getting overwhelmed at 10 am about a job that needs attending at 5 pm, right? This helps you shore your energies for the most productive and important tasks, something of critical importance if you want to avoid getting overwhelmed.
The famous 80/20 Analysis can be very helpful in prioritization. Put down all the tasks on a paper. Every pending task bothering you should be in the list. Now, as yourself, In my list of tasks:
- Which are those 20% tasks that can get me 80% of results I am looking for?
- Which are those 20% tasks which are the reasons for 80% of my headache?
Plan for these tasks first and get them done. Period! You will find that your life looks and feels much better.
In other words, breaking down your tasks into simpler, more practically achievable ones and achieving them within the timeframe you have allocated for it make you feel better.
Example: Meeting your team lead at a fixed time of the day. When you know the time, constantly changing the schedule is going to upset all the plans. Make sure you prioritize well.Tip #3:
Now that you have prioritized, what next?
Obviously, you act upon the priorities, right? In other words, you plan what to do in order of importance so that things don’t pile up. Let me suggest a simple method. Just use different slip sizes or shapes, or different ink colors to your task items! This can make a huge difference to the way you will be able to achieve what you set out to. This is the beauty of planning well for an event.
Example: Let us say you have a meeting to attend at 3 pm, but you are not sure till what time the preceding meeting is going to last. Try a simple step: mark the important meeting in a particular color, say, red, and the less important ones in maybe blue. This can make an enormous impact on how you will be able to plan for both the meetings. Try this out. It has worked wonders for me!Tip #4:
Be prepared for a less than ideal outcome. Before you start thinking of me as a doomsday prophet who cannot think of anything positive, let me clarify that it is wonderful to expect positive outcomes out of every action. But God forbid, what if the expected outcomes doesn’t happen, for whatever reason? Keeping your expectations subpar will make even a less than ideal outcome seem good.
Example: Long ago, I gave a super presentation to a very prospective client. Or, that is what I thought. I was happily assuming that signing on the dotted line was only a matter of time, except that this time has not come about till today. After repeated follow-ups, the prospect is still warm, but has not yet materialized. The fault was not with the presentation, because, from what I heard from others, it was very satisfying, but my expectation. I did not foresee that something may have prevented the client from closing the deal.Tip #5:
Techniques such as Deep Breathing, Mindfulness, Pranayama, etc., have a tremendous impact on calming the mind and placating the senses.
Connie Britton, Jenna Dewan, Megan Fox and a host of other famous people from different walks of life have one practice in common to help them overcome stress: they breathe deeply. This simple technique, called pranayama, is an amazing tool in helping to stay calm.
Examples of this technique are way too many and can be implemented at no particular time or place. All that you need to do is to inhale deeply, hold your breath for a while, and exhale slowly. A basic video or manual can teach you how to do it right.
Bonus 2: Another video here!
Measuring the success of practices such as the ones suggested here is subjective and individualized. These need to be done gradually on a daily basis, till the time they become part of your routine. This requires Will, Discipline and Motivation.
The way you feel after you start implementing these tips is the best measure of how effective they have been. Starting to see results can take time. So, have patience, and persist. (an extension of my 5 P’s? Not really!)
Let us know what tips you are going to try. Do share your experience about what you did that made you become less overwhelmed. What worked and did not work in your case? The reason we ask is that you never know; your experience may help someone looking for some help!
Do share this article with your friends, colleagues, family members you know are getting overwhelmed. They may find these tips handy!