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Are You Whelmed?

Are you overwhelmed? My husband once worked with a client who created what he termed the “whelmed” model, that space between underwhelmed and  overwhelmed, where you are in “the zone.” People who are whelmed are clear about what they do and are determined to get it done. I can always tell when I’m in the whelmed zone. I feel really productive, energized and thrilled at what I’ve accomplished at the end of the day.

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”:

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you
lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”
Margaret Thatcher

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

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One Response to “Are You Whelmed?”

  1. Christine Abela said:

    I love this term “whelmed”.

    I read this a couple of weeks ago, and have thought of it often.

    I build web sites for craft businesses (as well as being a quilter, and running a business selling stuff for quilters). I am heavily booked, and like to think in terms of “projects”.

    Each project (a web site client, generally) has a 5″ x 3″ index card where I keep my notes, along with contact details for each client. Finished projects are filed, but active ones are on my desk in two piles – those with tasks needing to be done today, and those that don’t have anything needing doing today.

    When the first pile is empty at the end of the day, which happens most days, I am “whelmed”, because I have got all the urgent jobs done.

    When the second pile is nice and full, I am “whelmed”, because I know I have plenty of work to keep me busy, and to keep the money rolling in.

    And when the filing box has plenty in it, I am “whelmed”, because I know I have lots of happy clients with great web sites who are spreading the word about my business.

    Yes, “whelmed” is an excellent way to describe this feeling – thanks for sharing!


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