I haven’t been too well lately. Actually I’ve been completely out of action for a week with an horrendous virus that gave me energy to lift a tissue to my nose and that’s about it. As a result of finally ‘being back in the room’ what has come with feeling slightly better is a huge sense of overwhelm due to the work I’ve missed, emails that I haven’t replied to, clients that I haven’t delivered to and general life management – trying to buy a house & sort a wedding; you know, casual. This all got me thinking about how can we deal with this feeling of lack of control and mild panic.
What I tell my clients to do when they come to me with similar issues is to calm down and take each step slowly. Write lists about lists and do one thing at a time and delegate (the best thing EVER). I am telling myself this but being a very typical Gemini, I am abandoning said list halfway through to start a brand new list, oh and quickly texting that person back I forgot to & popping some washing on.
Being overwhelmed is not nice and can see us flapping around like a goldfish out of water but there are ways to deal with it – even if you are a Gemini.
Know that it’s pretty normal.
In life, sadly most of us at one time or another can feel overwhelmed and that things are on top of us. It’s just your turn. Don’t try and fight the feeling – accept it, clock that you’re feeling overwhelmed and then look at how to deal with it.
Take a deep breath & write that list of priorities
You only can do what you can do in this life so prioritise. Even though you maybe have a million things on your to do list, not all of them will need doing immediately. Write it all down and segment your lists into urgent and non-urgent. What can be left a few days? Can you get any extension on deadlines?
Really look at what is urgent and can’t wait and what can. Be ruthless and your urgent to do list will be a lot shorter and manageable. And then once you have that list, do one thing at a time. No multitasking needed here as it will take longer. There’s nothing more satisfying than a big tick next to a list entry – get a red pen and go for it.
I was never a fan of delegating due to again being a Gemini control freak who had to do everything herself – who needs sleep?! But since having my business coupled with a full time job and a social life, I have quickly realised that I don’t need to do everything; especially the stuff I don’t enjoy or am a bit shit at as they ALWAYS take the longest. So, have a look at your list – what could you realistically farm out? Could someone help you organise that event or research suppliers? Could you skill swap with an accountant to look at your numbers for you and file the dreaded tax return? Send that email or make that call – it could save you hours.
When we’re in a sense of panic and overwhelm occasionally we don’t think straight. And occasionally we turn in such a fabulous dramatic performance that the Academy may come a-knockin’. Now, in times like this we need to breath and be realistic. If this thing doesn’t happen immediately, what are the consequences? Is actually our pressure on ourselves unrealistic compared to the actual expectation? An example is that person that goes to EVERY meeting but they’re so so so so busy. They don’t need to be there, they’re serving their sense of insecurity and justifying their self worth, but that’s a whole other topic. At my work, there’s actually a woman that runs everywhere; runs between meetings, runs to the toilet, runs to grab lunch. Nobody needs to run like that. And she looks ridiculous, not busy and important like I think she thinks she does. Balance yourself with what is important and devote yourself to doing that well, that’s all.
Look after yourself
In times of overwhelm, there is the urge to work all the hours to get what needs done. This is not helpful. If you’re having to pick your head up from the desk and keep yourself alert with buckets of coffee I hate to break it to you but your output will not be the best. It will be rushed and frantic. In times like this, the best way to power through that to do list is to sleep well, eat well, exercise and generally look after yourself. You will be more productive for it.
Plan your time
Time management is the key to all success in my opinion. People that are smashing it are great at it. Plan your week to the hour, recognise when you’re fannying about (generally on social media if you’re like me), be strict with yourself on timings for getting things done and most importantly, say no to things you don’t need to be at or do. It’s empowering and you saves so much time.
Talk to people
A problem shared… Pick up the phone or grab a cuppa with a mate or colleague and explain how you’re feeling. Saying things out loud or writing them down really, really helps and adds a sense of relief as it’s out there in the universe. More often than not, the person you’re speaking to will have experienced similar feelings and will be there to calm you down and talk you through it as well as add that all important bit of encouragement when needed.
Relax – the world won’t stop
As much as it seems hugely stressful, take a reality check in the big world out there. Will anybody die? Will the world stop spinning? If no to both then you’ll be ok.
Good luck my friends.