How To Get Out Of Overwhelm And Into Action
How to Not stop feeling overwhelmed and start taking action on a big task
Really trying to achieve something big but feeling overwhelmed and trapped in that state of not doing anything instead?
Feeling Overwhelmed can really make you procrastinate.
Procrastination IS the thief of joy, it will stop you doing those things you really want to do and need to do to achieve the things you want.
In this context i’m talking about when you’re trying to achieve or create something HUGE, like start a business, write a book, declutter the entire house.
All those things where focusing on the overall task seems too big and too scary so it just sits there in the ‘I’d love to but…’ list and you’re right there, making a TONNE of excuses as to why you aren’t doing it.
I don’t have enough time, i’m not good enough, who am I to ‘XYZ’, I can’t because ‘XYZ’…can you relate?
The big things are the hard things but they make the biggest difference!
This can be applied to really anything that feels like a HUGE task and you are stuck feeling overwhelmed and not getting anywhere fast.
You get stuck in paralysis, start surfing social media or ‘just one more episode’ of your netflix binge and pretty sharpish you don’t take the action you need to and stay exactly where you’re at.
Panic not my friend.
There are a few key ways to get yourself through this and i’ve got your back.
What are you doing and WHY are you doing it.
The what is the easy part, work through what feels right for you, if you were to explain what you’re doing to someone else would they ‘get’ it, does it make ‘sense’ or is it a higgledy piggledy mess in your head that needs to be stripped back and worked out?
The WHY is for the moments that you struggle.
What will it get you once it’s done, what will your life look like, how will it feel. Connecting to this will get you through all the sticky moments where you feel like you could just quit.
Make A Decision!
Once you have the clarity around the task at hand…You have to decide to move, to take the action and get going.
Think of a time where you’ve procrastinated and procrastinated over something but as soon as you DO manage to get going, then you feel like you’re on a roll and there’s no stopping you.
You’ve just got to push through the initial resistance.
I call it the 15 minute rule. You say ok, i’ll do 15 minutes of this and then I have complete permission to stop if I feel I need to.
More often than not you will find you get into the flow and just get going.
And if not, you’ve done 15 minutes worth, it’s a step in the right direction.
Ask yourself where the pressure is coming from.
Are you putting self imposed deadlines on yourself which is leading to you feeling overwhelmed, stressed out and under pressure??
Do you REALLY have to get it done today, or could you actually get it done next week?
Just be honest with yourself.
I’m awful for this. I’m very efficient and like to get things off my list so I was certainly always guilty of this one.
So, I always have to check in and give myself a gut check and ask if my deadlines are MY deadlines which are MY decision, or someone else’s legitimate deadline.
Am I just busy being busy? What happens if I don’t do this one thing?
Don’t focus on the big scary goal that requires ALL THE THINGS!
Looking at the task as a whole is ALWAYS going to feel overwhelming.
Look at each individual goal as its own entity. Focus on the now, not the future.
Focus on the tasks that are going to move the needle and get things done the fastest. Usually it’s a handful of tasks that create the majority of the result. Pareto’s 80:20 rule where 20% of the work will lead to 80% of the result.
Break it down.
Here’s an example I used with one of my clients who had been wanting to write a book for 5 years.
Instead of looking at a book as OMG I HAVE TO WRITE A WHOLE BOOK!!!!
Think this way:
Book – Chapters – Words per chapter – Words per day to achieve finishing a book in the time frame you want.
So instead of telling yourself ‘I have to write a book today’. CUE PANIC!
It turns to ‘I have to write 2,000 words today’…which i’ve pretty much done in about an hour…right here…done!
To give you another example. We just got the keys to our new house and as always happens you think when you buy it ‘oh it’s in great nick, we could just move in and not have to decorate at all’.
Then the owners move out and you see where every single picture was on the walls, all the stains and discolouration on the floors, the leaky tap, and then you realise you have a mammoth task ahead.
So instead of ‘OMG I have to decorate the whole freaking house’ freak out, break it down.
What rooms are REALLY a priority?
What needs to be done that would be the quickest and easiest way for us to move in?
What needs to be done in each of those rooms?
Just break tasks down further and further until you can see clearly what needs to be done rather than focusing on the whole enormous ‘I don’t know where to start’ task. Just work out the best place to start!
This part requires you to get REALLY honest with yourself about what REALLY actually needs to get done, and what is just a distraction.
You can NOT tackle everything at once so don’t try.
There is this myth that as women multitasking is something we’re great at.
The reality is it’s not good for ANYONE. Your brain really doesn’t like flitting between tasks.
It actually makes tasks take LONGER and makes you lack focus.
Get really honest with yourself and when you look at your list ask if it’s REALLY a priority….or even necessary at all!
Decide whether you’re going to eat the frog or the elephant!
This one is up to you and how you best work and how you will get your own feeling of accomplishment. There are two schools of thought here and both are effective, There’s no right or wrong.
Brian Tracy wrote ‘Eat that Frog’ and the concept is you take the biggest, ugliest task on your list and tackle that first, then everything after that feels so much more easy and you’ll get a huge sense of accomplishment for tackling the big scary task first, and BONUS you will also grow in confidence.
The second school of thought is that ‘you can’t eat an elephant in one go, but you can one bite at a time’.
SO this is about the small baby steps that combine create the big things.
So the question is, which one is going to work for you?
Are you more of a pull up your big girl pants and do the tough thing first and power on through?
Or do you know your brain needs a slightly softer touch and slow and steady wins the race?
Neither are better or worse, neither are right or wrong, it’s all about being honest with yourself and who you are and how you best work.
Give them both a try and see how you get on.
I’ve been known to do both depending on how my day has been, that’s totally cool too.
It’s all about taking action in the right way for you, but always taking SOME action.
Scary Brain dump to do list.
This is a fave of mine because you still have EXACTLY the same amount to do but the head space you clear and the time you save from not worrying or procrastinating over all the things you have to do is invaluable!
Split a horizontal page into 3.
On the left write down everything you can think of that you need to do. In the middle be really honest and pick everything that HAS to be done THIS WEEK.
Then in the right every day ON THE DAY take 3 things from the middle list and just do those!
If you get through them super quick then great feel free to add another one.
The sense of achievement you’ll feel will be soooo much better than the usual overwhelm. (You can purchase mine in my Etsy shop right here)
Schedule specific time to work on it.
What this will do is give you permission to switch off once your outside of that schedule, instead of feeling guilty for taking time for yourself.
Which is a NON-NEGOTIABLE!
You must take time for yourself or you WILL burn out….trust me I know!
You’ve got to operate from a full tank.
Making sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating the right things.
If you don’t this DOES make things feel harder so don’t ignore it.
The myth that you should work until the early hours and forgo sleep is utter BS.
Sleep is one of the most important things you need. I’m SUPER strict on making sure I get my 8 hours.
Think about it, how productive do you really feel when you’re tired?
Listen to your body and stick to your schedule. So many mindset gremlins will get smashed in the process and you won’t feel guilty anymore or distracted from enjoying life when you’re not doing allll the things!
And Finally…Remember who’s in control here.
Don’t forget just how much control you have over your own thoughts, feelings and actions.
You’ve got this, believe it!
If you want to explore this further, have any questions or want some accountability then come join me in my private community below!!
Fran Excell, Subconscious Success Mentor – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at www.franexcell.com
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