There is more to life than increasing its speed. – Gandhi
Do you feel that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? You’re definitely not alone. And now that we’re on the verge of heading into the holiday season, many people go from simply being busy to feeling overwhelmed.
Even though it may not seem that way, you have more control over your to do list than you think. In order to stop feeling overwhelmed, you need to be willing to make a conscious choice to cut back, do less, and simplify. The following tips can help you do that:
1. Step back. If you’re feeling overwhelmed to the point of being unable to get anything done, stop. The longer you look at that endless to do list, the less you’ll accomplish. Take a deep breath, step away from your desk, or take a short walk to clear your head.
2. Prioritize. Do you really need to do everything on your to do list, and do you need to do it all right now? I’ve always liked Steven Covey’s system of sorting items on your to do list into urgent, important, not urgent, and not important categories. Surprisingly, it’s the items in the “important but not urgent” quadrant, not the things that are “urgent and important,” that should receive your greatest attention. For example, daily playtime with your cats is important but not urgent. Feeding your cats, however, is important and urgent! For a more detailed (and less cat-centric) explanation of Covey’s important/urgent matrix, visit Practice This or go straight to the source and read Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
3. Learn to say no. You can’t be everything to all people.
4. Eliminate. Look through your prioritized to do list. Do you really need to do all of these things? What would happen if you dropped some of the items off your list? Chances are that the consequences wouldn’t be nearly as dire as you might imagine.
5. Make time for yourself. This may seem counterintuitive, but unless you make time to take care of yourself, you won’t have any energy left and you’ll feel even more overwhelmed.
Cats don’t have to do lists, and as a result, they don’t feel overwhelmed. So who’s smarter after all?
Do you often feel overwhelmed? What has helped you cope?