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I’ve recently received quite a few questions about how to deal with the emotion of feeling overwhelmed and I thought this would be an excellent subject to tackle since I can definitely feel identify with this emotion.
At any given moment, I am doing TONS more than I should be! 🙂 I enjoy multi-tasking and staying busy but the problem is that multi-tasking frequently leads to feeling overwhelmed and tired and so I have learned a few tricks along the way!
However, I urge you to learn from my mistakes and actually learn how to tackle this emotion with these 3 easy tips AND with two techniques that I have found to be most helpful!
1. Break Down the Task The first way to immediately start to feel like whatever you have to do is “do-able” is just simply breaking down the task.
When you see that you have to write a 40 page paper, that can really feel overwhelming but if you break it down and say I am going to write at least 5 pages a week, in 8 easy weeks you could have a great a paper (and that’s definitely great for people who are in a semester by semester program). That’s just one example, but you can do this for any work projects you have or even family tasks. If you have to clean out the attic, write down on a calendar what sections you are going to work on every day or week or however you want to time it. You may even find that you’re excited to get started!
2. Set Deadlines It’s not enough to just write down how to break down the task, now you have to actually set a deadline so it will push you to get it done. So let’s use the attic example. Let’s say that you’re going to clean out the attic within 1 month, every week you can dedicate some time to it and then write down when you want that section to be done. So it could look like this, “On Monday, I am going to start by focusing on clearing the cobwebs and removing any items that are out in the open and on the floor and have everything done by 7:30pm Wednesday evening.” Then you can repeat these “steps” until you finish!
3. Reward Yourself It’s important that you take the time to reward yourself for completing your deadlines and for following through on breaking down your tasks.
Most of us will respond better when we receive positive reinforcement and so do NOT reward yourself until you complete your tasks.
A Few Great Techniques!
1. 10-15 minute rule One great technique that you can use to keep you on track is simply committing to work on a task that you don’t want to do at least 10-15 minutes every day. It’s always wise to do the things that you don’t want to do first so it will be out of the way
2. Pomodoro Technique Now this is my favorite technique. I use this because I really like how easy it is and I am very goal orientated so I like having a goal to meet. Basically, you work for 25 minutes, set a timer and do whatever you need to do. When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break. Walk around, get something to drink, etc. then work again for another 25 minutes. Do this 4 times and on the final time, then take a 30 minute (well deserved) break! I find that I complete more tasks when I use this technique.
I’d love to hear from you! What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? How do you get things do whenever that emotion comes up? Let me know in the comments!!