Today, I’d like to talk about overwhelm and what to do to avoid it.
I believe in today’s world where we are always “on” and connected, it is very easy to fall into the traps of overwhelm.
We wear many hats and have responsibilities at home, with kids’ schools, with work, with family, and friends.
I’m sure we all know the moments when we think “OMG, how can I get all this stuff done and stay sane?!”
The answer is not about “how to do it all” but about “how not to do it all”, or in other words “how to FOCUS”.
Let’s start with this famous quote from Steve Jobs:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
If we want to be free of overwhelm in our lives, we have to eliminate everything that gets in the way of focus just like Apple did, including dozens of good and seemingly worthwhile ideas, connections, events and projects.
The key is that a “to-do list” is just as important as a “not-to-do list”!
The reason we feel overwhelmed is that our calendars and our task lists are overloaded with commitments and obligations.
If you feel overwhelm once in a while then take this moment as a sign from the “universe” :-). Grab a piece of paper or your journal and answer the following questions truthfully:
- What are the things you should no longer do?
- What tasks take your energy, drain your creativity and leave you feel demotivated?
- What commitments are low leverage for your life or business
- Which activities fail to employ your unique gifts?
- What are meetings or gatherings that no longer make sense or give you what you’re looking for?
- What are the opportunities you should no longer consider?
- What are the relationships that are keeping you stuck?
Answering these questions is key to reducing overload in your life. No productivity system will help unless you have first become really clear what you want to be doing or what you no longer want to or should be doing.