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Tips for the Overwhelmed

By Valorie Burton
Author and Motivational Speaker

CBNMoney.comHave you ever overestimated how much you could do in a given period of time - then found yourself overwhelmed as you run out of time to get it all done? Well, that pretty much describes my last week. I am revisiting a lesson that I need to be gently reminded of.

This week, I want to challenge you to be realistic about how much you can actually do in a day - or a week. When you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of commitments on your to-do list, it is essential that you take a few moments to ask, “What could I do differently in this situation to reduce the stress and give myself some breathing room?” Take a few moments to journal your answers or talk it through with a wise friend.

Consider these five steps when you are feeling overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time to do it:

1. PLAN A RESPITE.
When you go through a period of being in overdrive, the key to not burning yourself out is to plan some down time. Sometimes there is a good reason you must shift into overdrive. The problems occur when you stay in overdrive indefinitely. You must remember to slow down and breathe! Look at your calendar and plan some down time. This gives you a goal to move towards as you catch up and take control of your schedule.

2. GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO CATCH UP.
Identify what’s overdue and what’s coming up. The feeling of being overwhelmed often comes from feeling that you are behind schedule. Catching up relieves anxiety and leaves you feeling like you can breathe calmly again.

3. ALTER YOUR DEADLINES. DROP THE NON-ESSENTIALS.
In order to catch up, you may need to drop some activities and postpone others. Consider your upcoming deadlines. What could you change? You often have more leeway than you think. Notice when your deadlines are self-imposed and give yourself permission to change them. Lastly, give yourself permission to drop some activities and projects. You don’t have to do everything. In fact, you can’t. So why stress yourself out trying?

4. CLEAR THE CLUTTER.
Clutter in your environment can cause you to feel you have more to do than you really do. Take some time to clear the clutter and re-organize. This will give you a feeling of control that empowers you to get unstuck and be more productive.

5. REMEMBER YOUR VISION.
When you are feeling overwhelmed with choices, projects and responsibilities, it is important to put things into perspective. Ask yourself, “If I don’t get this done today, what difference will this make a month from now or a year from now?” If it makes a difference, you know it’s an urgent priority. If it doesn’t, give yourself some breathing room. Consider for a moment your vision for your life. Then make sure the little actions you are taking each day are the steps that are aligned with that vision.

My challenge to you this week:

Take a break to prioritize and catch your breath.

Journaling assignment:

What aspect of your life is causing you to feel overcommitted, unnecessarily stressed or overwhelmed? What could you do differently to alleviate that feeling? When will you schedule a respite?


Valorie BurtonA sought-after life coach and speaker, Valorie Burton seeks to inspire people to live more fulfilling, less stressful lives. She is the author of Listen to Your Life, What’s Really Holding You Back?, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, and her latest, Why Not You? 28 Days to Authentic Confidence.

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