Just like all of you, I do feel overwhelmed at times. It can happen when I’m trying to meet deadlines or getting ready for the next Quilt Market or next class. Here are six tips to help you move out of overwhelm and into whelm:
1. Learn how to recognize when you are getting into overwhelm. If you can tell you are on the verge – or already there – then you take action. First thing I like to do is take a breath, or as I’ve been know to tell myself, “Get a grip.”
2. Remember to look at the facts. Sometimes we confuse our impressions of what needs to be done with the truth. Write down everything that needs to be done.
3. Focus is key. You need to be clear about what your goals are. Is everything on your “to-do” list really necessary? Take a look at the list you created above and follow the “four Ds.” If something is not a priority, see if you can Delete it from the list. Next, look for those items you can Delegate to someone else. Third, what can you Defer until sometime later without creating problems? And, for those items you can defer, again consider if they are really necessary.
4. OK, you’ve probably winnowed down your list to something that might be a bit more manageable. Now, what are the three top priorities on your list? Put a time for them in your calendar. And, allow more time than you think. This is one of the reasons I can get into overwhelm, trying to do more than I physically can in the allotted time.
5. Now get going with the list. This is the fourth “D” – Do – and let go of perfection as you work on your list. I have a sign in my office that says, “Progress, not Perfection.” Some people use the term Imperfect Action here.
6. And remember at the end of the day, if something doesn’t get done, you are probably the only one who knows it. I learned that one from my mother, who told me as I was stressed out about some little something that wasn’t what I expected for my wedding day. She reminded me that the only one who knew that the color on my wedding cake didn’t exactly match the color on the bridesmaid’s dresses was me.
Here’s a favorite quote that sums up for me the feeling of being “whelmed”:
lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”