You have numerous responsibilities. We all do. And in the current time of 24/7 mobile accessibility, only you can decide when to stop being available and rest. But when everyone else is online at all hours, what can you do? Combating overwhelm is difficult.
BE YOUR OWN BAROMETER
As hard as it is, do NOT compare yourself to others. You are the only one who knows when you are approaching your own personal maximum capacity. So, ignore what others are doing and make your own intelligent decision about when you have too many commitments.
DRAW THE LINE
Decide when you will rest. That translates to creating a clear boundary with technology. When you draw the line, you honor your human personal space by shutting off your computer, tablet, smart phone, and entertainment devices.
For you that might be several times a day for a shorter period of time. Or maybe for you that means a hard line at the end of your work day.
If you are part of a team or larger organization, invite others to draw the same line so you can support one another. My friends at the innovative Philadelphia-based company Vynamic have a universal policy called zzzMail, where no internal emails are sent between 10 PM and 6 AM, nor on weekends or holidays. Personally, I need a longer period of “no email” during the day so I can be present with parenting, with my husband, and my own self-care.
IF NOT NOW, LATER
Even when you are excited about all your commitments, sometimes it’s better to wait to say yes until you have more space in your calendar. If a new and fabulous opportunity arises, ask yourself: does it have to be now? Will I still be excited about it next month? next quarter? next year?
MAKE SPACE and BE CONSCIOUS OF THE IMPACT
Okay, so let’s say it can’t wait. Then what? If you are already feeling stretched to the limit, take a serious look at all your projects and roles and ask yourself: What TWO things can I let go of? And how soon can I let go of them?
Why TWO? Entering into a new project or commitment usually involves a learning curve and extra invested time at the beginning. By taking two responsibilities off your plate, you release enough capacity to fully engage in and enjoy your new passion.
If one or both of the existing commitments you will let go of involve other people, consider how your departure will impact them. Share your intention and work together to ease into the new reality so you don’t burn bridges along the way.
HONOR YOUR PERSONAL GUIDELINES
Do you suffer from “bright, shiny object syndrome”, which my dear friend Sara Canuso describes as “being excited about every new thing that comes my way”? One way to fend off the lure of new opportunities is to refer back to the goals and budget you set for yourself this year or quarter. Then, ask yourself: does this new opportunity support my overall vision? Does it feed into one of this year’s or quarter’s goals? If not, then the answer is clearly no. Or, at least not this year or quarter.
I’ve recently had to say no to a number of professional development and business opportunities because they did not fit with my goals. There were certainly moments of hesitation and asking myself: “can’t I just change my goals so this fits?” In the end, though, I was really glad I said no because ultimately other better and more-aligned opportunities came to me.
BE HONEST ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE
If in the end, you still feel overwhelmed, then it may be time to look at the big picture. When my clients do all the right things and make positive changes with tangible results, but still feel something is wrong, it usually (but not always) is a sign that they are off track in their life path.
It’s never too late in life to make a life or career change, to re-connect you with your core values and passions. And working with a skilled professional like a leadership coach, career coach, or life coach might be an option you want to explore.
IS NOW THE TIME TO COMBAT OVERWHELM?
If you’d like to talk further about reducing overwhelm, or your big picture, it only takes a 15-minute call. I am scheduling exploratory calls now for September and October. Email me and we’ll find a date and time that work best for your crazy schedule.