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Leadership Thought #280 – Tips For When Feeling Overwhelmed


We all get overwhelmed at times.  It’s just part of life.  Sometimes there is just too much to do and not enough time to do it in.  Instead of stressing out when this happens, takes a step back, breathe, and come up with a plan of action.  Here are some tactics/ideas that have worked for me:

  • Develop and prioritize a daily “to do” list and revisit at the beginning and end of each day;
  • Categorize activities based their true urgency and financial impact;
  • Break large assignments/action items into smaller discrete tasks;
  • Ask yourself if  any or your deadlines/responsibilities self-imposed and if so can they be reevaluated;
  • Assess whether or not any of your tasks can be delegated or at minimum ask someone else for help;
  • Be smart about the value of your time and if you can afford it, pay others to handle basic life tasks, e.g., laundry, yard work, house cleaning, cooking meals, etc.;
  • Be upfront and honest with those you are working with about any needed changes to deadlines and let them know sooner rather than later – renegotiate timelines if possible;
  • Be upfront and honest with the people at home about what’s going on and set their expectations appropriately;
  • Focus on your more difficult action items during your most productive part of the day, e.g., morning people should use this to their advantage, etc.;
  • If necessary, have any difficult conversations first thing in the morning so you don’t brood over them all day long and procrastinate;
  • Schedule and take small 5-10 minute mental breaks throughout the course of the day;
  • Consciously pay attention to your breathing and when especially stressed stop and take 10 long and deep breaths;
  • Always eat breakfast, take at least 30 minutes for lunch and don’t eat dinner after 8pm;
  • Eat healthier than you normally do – diet matters;
  • Avoid over-doing the caffeine especially after 4pm;
  • Avoid over-doing the alcohol especially after 8pm;
  • Try and stick to regular bed and wake-up times – when stressed the body craves routine;
  • Find time to exercise for at least 15-20 minutes per day and take small stretch breaks if sitting for more than 2 hours straight;
  • Get outside for a few minutes or open a window to ensure you get some fresh air;
  • If music is therapeutic for you, then use this to your advantage when working alone;
  • Look for opportunities to laugh or smile;
  • Pay attention to and try to minimize and redirect negative self-talk into something more positive (or at least neutral);
  • Keep a pad near your bed and if you are having difficulty sleeping then get up and write what’s on your mind without any editing – just get it out of your head, your brain needs to be acknowledged rather than ignored in times like this;
  • Start each day with counting you blessings – they are many;
  • End your day with prayer, mediation or personal reflection whatever works for you to quiet your mind.
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One Response

  1. I totally dug it. Great read. And thanks for the link to my entry. Much appreciated.

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