Overcoming overwhelm


I was reading through my blog feed this morning, bookmarking articles to read later. There were easily 20 articles I wanted to save but I didn’t do it. I’ve already got hundreds of articles in my bookmark app, plus hundreds more saved in Evernote waiting to be read.

I stopped and closed the app. Enough. I can’t handle it all. Mommy.

When you have too much to read, too much to do, too many fires to put out, and you are feeling overwhelmed, how do you handle it? The best thing to do is distract yourself long enough to allow your brain to reset.

Sometimes, taking a few hours off is all we need. Sometimes, we need to get more sleep. Some folks listen to music, some write, some play sports, some watch movies, some have a good cry with their best friend.

Exercise helps. When I come back from my walks I’m usually ready to get back at it. That’s what I did today.

Do something to interrupt your thought patterns and you’ll usually find the feeling of overwhelm begins to subside. If it doesn’t, if you can’t shake the feeling, you might need to do something more radical to eliminate whatever it is that’s overwhelming you.

You may need to hire some people. You may need to find new tools and methods to streamline your workflow or take some training to learn how to better use what you already have.

When all else fails, all we can do is surrender to the reality that there will always be too much to read and too much to do and we’ll never get it all done.

Because we won’t.

The things we don’t read today will still be there tomorrow, even if we don’t bookmark them. (It’s called the Internet.) You don’t have to feel guilty about the things you didn’t do. Tomorrow is another opportunity to start fresh.

Let it go.

Life is messy. Uncertain. Out of our control. But that’s okay because most things don’t really matter.

Once you accept this, you can focus on the things that do.

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