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Overcoming Overwhelm

This is a guest post written by Certified Professional Organizer Tiffany Engler.

I was sitting at my computer the other day, reviewing my 60 or so things that somehow found their way onto my to-do list that week and feeling very overwhelmed by it all. The “old” Tiffany would have trudged through the list and spent the rest of a Saturday night getting through most of it, feeling stressed during the process and very tired by Sunday.

But the “new” Tiffany looked over her to-do list once and then took the dog out for a 60-minute walk to enjoy the nice weather and just breathe. She spent time thinking about what was important to her – her family, her clients, planning a summer vacation, etc. When she returned to her desk 60-minutes later she decided she would spend 2 hours and focus on the things that were most important at that time. She put a star by those items and 2 hours later, she shut down the computer, closed the office door and enjoyed the rest of her Saturday night. She felt good that she made progress on the important
stuff and felt well rested on Sunday which led to a good week.

The “new” Tiffany did four things that helped get her past the overwhelming feelings. I want to share with you what those things were to help you the next time panic sets in.

1. Breathe.

When we feel overwhelmed it almost feels like we are having a mild panic attack. We may feel buried in our stuff or our to-do’s and feel like we are just spinning out of control. We may have so much to-do that we just throw our hands up in the air. When these feelings occur – take a number of deep breathes. Deep breathing helps us relax and some studies say may help us live longer too. I know you’ve heard this before, but few of us do it. Try it. It’s simple, it’s free and takes very little time

2. Distract yourself.

Often times we are overwhelmed because we are too close to the situation. Isn’t it interesting how you can help your best friend organize her home, but when it comes to your home you don’t know where to start? That’s because you are too close to what’s going on. When this happens, distract yourself for a few hours. If it is your stuff that is bothering you go outside the house and spend some time in nature. If it is your to-do’s and mental stuff go to a movie or read a book. We need to get away from the situation for a while so we can come back to it fresh, with a new perspective and set of eyes. I never feel as alive as when I return home from being out of town for a few days. I’ve see something new and enjoyed life and when I return it all seems to make sense and I have a new and improved perspective for what’s important and what truly matters.

3.  Figure out what’s important.

Part of the overwhelming feeling is that we don’t know where to start or what to do. When we have to organize our entire home, that does seem overwhelming so instead pick a room. When we have 3 pages of to-do’s that does seem overwhelming so instead pick 6 to-do’s a day. We get stuck because we think that everything is equally as important, but it’s not. I feel much better
about myself when I get one thing done that is really important versus nine things done that are trivial.

4. Do it. Delegate it. Ditch it.

If it’s important do it. If it needs to get done and you don’t really want to do it, delegate it. If it’s not that important, but you are holding on to it because of guilt or shame ditch it and move on and don’t forget to breathe.

If there are certain things you do to overcome overwhelm, I would love to hear your ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Certified Professional Organizer®, Tiffany Engler, loves to help her clients break large and overwhelming projects down into smaller and more manageable steps. Her Professional Organizing Company, Your Life Organized, specializes in basements, entire home makeovers and coaching. To meet the team and see before and after photos visit www.YourLifeOrganizedSTL.com.

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One Response to Overcoming Overwhelm

  1. Rita Spratlen April 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    This is a wonderful way to look at things. Thanks for sharing. There will always be something to do.

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