3 Tips to Overcome Feeling Overwhelmed

posted by Aby Garvey on November 13, 2013 7 Comments

Easy ways to overcome feeling overwhelmed

This morning, in my online class The Secrets of Staying Organized, I received a question from a participant who was feeling overwhelmed. At one time or another, we’ve all felt this way—overwhelmed by clutter or by a never-ending to-do list—so I thought this would make a great topic for today’s quick tip. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, give these ideas a try:

  1. Make a list. My go-to strategy when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to get everything out of my head that is vying for my attention. Initially the process of making a list can add to your overwhelmed feelings because all of the stuff that was swimming around in your head is now smack dab in front of you on paper. If that happens to you, remind yourself that you don’t have to do everything on the list right now. Instead, by getting it all out there, you can then decide what is most important to focus on, which is the next tip to try. 
  2. Narrow your point of focus. My class participant’s husband gave her terrific advice when she was feeling overwhelmed. He asked her what was bothering her the most. This simple question allowed her to narrow her point of focus. We often feel overwhelmed when we are trying to process and do too much all at once. By getting everything out of your head and narrowing your point of focus, you can then start taking action, which is the most powerful antidote to overwhelmed feelings. 
  3. Become aware of your self-talk. What do you say to yourself when you feel overwhelmed? If your inner dialogue is not supportive, then you’re simply adding to your stressed out feelings. Instead, picture yourself encouraging a friend or loved one who is feeling overwhelmed. What would you say to them? Change your inner dialogue to the same encouragement you would offer to someone else in the same situation. 

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, by clutter in your home or your holiday to-do list, give these three ideas a try!

Happy organizing,

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program

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  • November 14, 2013 at 12:56 am

    I didn´t have the time right now to take the class The Secrets of Staying Organized and I am wondering when you will start up the next round?


    November 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Malin,

    Thanks for your question! We don’t have a definite date for the next session of the Secrets workshop, but it will likely be in January or February at the latest.

    • November 14, 2013 at 9:13 am

      This post is right on target for me. I’ve been attacking the house room by room, giving everything a good cleaning, so that when the holiday weekend arrives, it will be easy to just straighten a bit.

      The master bedroom and my studio/office were bothering me most, so I started with those. The great feeling of accomplishment after the first room is finished, keeps me positive and ready to go to the next!

      I always enjoy your posts. Thanks and have a great Thanksgiving!


      November 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Thank you Cheryl! Great plan to attack the house room by room. Happy holidays to you. :)


      • November 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm

        I’ve used these ideas before, but I really like that you pointed out the importance of being aware of your self talk. Thanks for the post!

        • January 11, 2014 at 9:29 am

          I <3 <3 <3 this !!! Thanks for the great advice ! I'm working on getting my whole house organized by the end of the month… Saving the attic and basement for Feb/March if not met !! I have to be realistic right !?

          January 16, 2014 at 10:38 am

          Definitely give yourself the time you need to get it done…that way you won’t get discouraged. Just keep moving forward!! Best wishes, Amanda!