Have you ever had anxiety because of the overwhelming number of things on your plate? Does that anxiety and overwhelmed feeling stop you from being able to focus and actually get anything done? Do you ever feel so overwhelmed that you don’t even know where to start?
Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, we can safely say we have been right there with you. In fact, we were there just this week and let us say, it did not feel great… Whether you’re overwhelmed due to your job, your personal life or worst case, both! Feeling overwhelmed can be paralyzing and debilitatingly defeating. Personally, when we feel overwhelmed, we tend to overthink and become unmotivated, which is not good! So, we decided to dig deep and share our top 3 tips and tricks for how we overcome feeling overwhelmed to get work done!
1. Breathe to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed
The first thing we need to do is stop and reset. When we feel overwhelmed, we are usually overcome with an onset feeling of anxiety. Followed by a lack of focus which results in not being able to get anything done. When you recognize that you are beginning to feel overwhelmed, we would highly recommend taking a deep breath to reset your mind and focus.
We like to follow the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It’s nice because it doesn’t require any crazy elaborate poses or funky breathing styles (like pinching one of your nostrils!) You can do this anywhere at any time without drawing unwanted attention to yourself! The focus here is to not think about what you have to do, but instead to allow yourself to focus on the breath and reset your mind to allow newfound clarity.
To do this technique, do the following:
– Deeply breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds. Focus on the feeling of the breath entering your body.
– Hold that breath for 7 seconds, focus on feeling yourself hold the breath. Think about what you are feeling while holding your breath.
– Finally, breathe out through your mouth and make a whooshing noise. Focus on feeling the relaxation in your body. Imagine the stress and overwhelming feeling leaving your body with the breath.
Do this breathing technique 3-4 times until you feel your body and mind are reset and the immediate sense of panic has subsided. It’s here that we want to remind ourselves, no one is going to get hurt if we don’t finish all our tasks. The world doesn’t revolve around us and everything won’t stop if tasks drag out to tomorrow. Everything will get done in its own time and soon this will be yesterday’s memory.
2. Prioritize your overwhelming tasks
Now that you have done your breathing and have reset your mind, it’s time to make your tasks tangible. Write down everything you have to do that is making you feel overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be clean and it can be a brain dump, but get everything you need to do out. For us it helps to do this on pen and paper. Aesthetically and tactilely, it helps us to have something tangible, it helps us to feel that if everything can be written on paper then it can also be overcome.
When things are not written out, we get overwhelmed by the things we think we have to do. For some reason, lists in our head always seem more daunting than an actual written list, probably because you can have never-ending thoughts! Writing it all out can help you see that what you have to do is possible and can be achieved!
Now once you have that brain dump, you need to prioritize your tasks. A simple 1-5 scale works well for us! 1 being the task needs to be done in the next hour and 5 being the task can wait until the end of the week. It’s important to remember here that if everything is a priority, then nothing is actually a priority. We would expect most tasks will fall to a 3 or 4 and can be done by tomorrow or by end of the week.
Another tip, if you’re at work and having trouble prioritizing your tasks then ask your senior to help. They can help you prioritize and many times you’ll find that what you thought was an emergency can actually wait. It’s especially beneficial if you show them your list so they know how much is truly on your plate. Best case, they reassign some work, but at the very least they will have more sympathy and lenience towards you.
Now, for any tasks that can be done tomorrow or later, it’s time to release those thoughts from your head. This should immediately help you overcome feeling overwhelmed. Now we’re left with a tangible list that you can work through and accomplish today. The tasks that need to be done for tomorrow and beyond is your running list for the week! Now you won’t feel overwhelmed again because you know exactly what needs to be done and by when.
3. Start getting things done!
The finally step is to actually start getting the work done! There are two quotes that really help us out here at Tomodotchi when we feel overwhelmed.
“There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.”
– Desmond Tutu
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
– Lao Tzu
As obvious as these quotes are, it reinforces two thoughts. The first is that regardless of how much we have, we need to take the first step to start. Any daunting task can and will get done eventually, but it all begins with that first step. The second is that being overwhelmed and the anxiety of large tasks has plagued humans for a long time. The world is still here and spinning, so no matter what you have to do or how much you have to do, just know you can do it in your time and the world will still be here tomorrow!
Now, once you have your prioritized list, start tackling one task at a time. If you have additional thoughts of things you need to do, then add it to your list, prioritize it, then let the thought go! This prevents you from getting side tracked and feeling overwhelmed again. As you get through your list and start crossing tasks off, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and you’ll see the elephant getting smaller and smaller!
Bonus! Prevent feeling overwhelmed
We hope you found these tips and tricks helpful. Many times, the solution really is that easy, but we just need a reminder on how to get there. Don’t let yourself get paralysis from being overwhelmed. As long as you are trying and you take steps forward, you are making progress and the work will be done.
Going forward, do your best to prevent yourself from getting to a place of being overwhelmed. We wrote an article on managing expectations and setting boundaries which we really feel helps stop the feeling of being overwhelmed. Another key is to ensure that you always prioritize yourself. The more you allow other people’s problems to become your emergencies, the more overwhelmed you will feel. To help with this we have an article on how to channel your inner hero to prioritize you. The final reminder we would like to say is that your self-worth is not defined by the opinions of others. This can help prevent feeling overwhelmed as you can focus only on your own version of success, and not the version that all the different task givers have. Only you can truly define your worth. You can find how we find our self-worth in this article here.
In the end, remember that this too shall pass. You are strong, you are capable and you will prevail! You can see our Open letter to anyone suffering from anxiety or depression if you need a reminder of how awesome you are. Best of luck, Tomodotchi!
When you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount on your plate. Remember to breath, recenter your focus. Take the time to write out what you have to do. Prioritize your tasks then focus on getting them done one at a time. Don’t get distracted by new thoughts, focus on what you have to do.
As an added bonus for our readers, we like to include a game of where are the Tomodotchi Pets. They’ve been hidden in 2 of the pictures within this post. Can you find them all? See below for what they look like!