I didn't really know what I wanted to say this week. I have been procrastinating, feeling buried under the weight of the overwhelm that is my life at the moment.
I have had a lot going on at the moment, I know we all do because everyone I speak to is in agreement. My inbox is overflowing, and not just one, but eight total inboxes I have are full. Overwhelm, it's real and it occurred to me that I wanted to address it this week.
The eight inboxes. Even writing that makes me feel desperately snowed under. These are a mix of several personal, businesses that I run and businesses that I work in and thus, have to manage their emails.
Some days, many days, I can't even look at these inboxes, they provoke that much anxiety within me to simply know I have that much mail to read and deal with and action.
The inbox analogy is not a standalone situation, but can work for any area of life that is just too messy, too busy, too full. It could be bank accounts, book keeping, kids activities, social events, friends and family. That feeling of not being in control that causes overwhelm to creep in.
For me, the pressure sets in on a Thursday. Mostly put on by myself, but also knowing in the back of my mind that I need to get "everything" done by the end of the day, as it's officially the end of my working week.
As I look ahead to the next working week, the pressure doubles as I see the lack of space in my calender. The possibility of carrying work over into that week slowly slips away. It's now or never. That tightness in my chest rises as I feel the weight of the work, that I love but that is equally hanging over me.
I tend to shut down when this sets in. Stop replying to people's messages, don't return calls or whatever it is. And I have to just remind myself when this hits to just keep doing and override my naturally tendency to give in.
If we let ourselves succumb to the overwhelm and shut down completely, it simply leads to more of the same. Tasks pile on top of tasks and you feel yourself lose complete control because of your lack of action.
Chunk it down, write a list and start making progress. Overwhelm needs to be dealt with in small, achievable steps. In your mind, you might think that these small steps are not enough, but really, you're closer than you were before. It all counts and changing your mindset is the most important step.
For me this week, my first small step was to re-organise my office and get everything today to encourage me to become more productive and more clear. Having physical space and clarity allowed me to move forward with less stress and more focus to work through the overwhelm I was feeling.
Once you have started to move forward, it's important to look ahead. What's next and how are you going to manage that? What systems can you put into place to manage your overwhelm?
Writing it down, getting everything out of your head and onto paper is the simplest way to make room for action.
Take action, stop making excuses and just do something to chip away at whatever it is that is making you feel overwhelmed!