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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!