Many people fight through their days with an unending list of things to accomplish. That increases stress and leads to a sense of failure in the realization that we can’t complete all we thought we could. There should be an answer to manage the overwhelm and get through all those tasks. And indeed, you can manage overwhelm with these 4 tips.
Order your list from critical to not essential. What are the few things that absolutely must be done? Are there tasks or assignments that would be nice to accomplish, but are not essential? And I’m sure there are also some that just seem like busywork. This list is going to keep you focused as you realize that only a few of the items on the list will actually get done.
Is there anything on your list that you can delegate? If necessary, you may need to call in some favors. You should focus on the things you are uniquely suited to handle or need to do for your peace of mind. That list is shorter than the list of everything you hope to do. In my Discovering Your Ikigai course, many participants say they do not have time to develop their skills. This is something that no one can do for them. So I stress the fact that they need to schedule time to enhance their abilities on a regular basis, and not give it up. That is much more important than vacuuming the house. Someone else could do that instead of sitting in front of the TV, computer, or checking social media on their mobile phone. Another example is preparing the children’s lunch on the weekend. Train them to do that simple task for themselves.
Keep your top priority front of mind
Keeping your essential priority at the front of your mind will allow your brain to work on that in between tasks and when you’re doing things that don’t need all of your processing power. A sudden gap in your schedule will provide you the opportunity to spring into action and give your top priority the undivided attention it requires.
Look for opportunities
You may have a postponed meeting, extended deadline or cancelled appointment. These changes in schedule provide opportunities to get busy on priority number one. Since you’ve already thought through what you need to do, you can get a quick start and be productive from the beginning of your newly available time. Use this time, but not a minute more. That way, you are not cutting into the time you need for another important task. Before you move on, reassess what the next steps are and be ready for the next opportunity to work on those.
Knowing when enough is enough
When you have finished a task, it is usually good enough. In most cases, spending extra time on it won’t dramatically improve the quality. For example, when I’m creating a presentation, it is good enough to make the slides and have the information in the deck. I will work on accurate wording, animations, and design elements during my rehearsals.
Tying it all together
When you prioritize and only work on your most critical tasks, you can consciously take control of overwhelm. That will dramatically reduce your to-do list and help you fit the key tasks and projects into your schedule. Finally, be satisfied with the results you have created. In most cases, no one else will realize the difference between your good enough and excellent work. So be satisfied with your effort too. In this way, you will find opportunities to manage overwhelm and make what seems impossible possible.
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