In our fast-paced and demanding world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the myriad of responsibilities and expectations that weigh us down. When overwhelmed, it can be challenging to regain a sense of balance and clarity...which may lead to procrastination. However, by implementing a few actionable steps, you can alleviate the burden of overwhelm and regain control of your life. In this article, we will explore the insights shared by author Jenna Kutcher, who offers five practical steps to navigate through overwhelm and make the most of your days.1
1- Set boundaries on checking social media and email
It is way too easy to be distracted by technology. When you need to focus on a task, make a conscious effort to close all unnecessary tabs on your browser, including social media, and your email. In particular, an open email tab or app can lead to constant interruptions and dictate the course of your day. Kutcher suggests creating strict boundaries around your phone - keeping it physically separated from you and turning off notifications can help you to avoid mindless scrolling and improve your productivity. Most email messges are not urgent and can wait, as much as we often tell ourselves they need to be attended to immediately.
2- Prioritize creation first
It is important to give space to your creative endeavors. Oftentimes we only give ourselves permission to circle back to creation after all our concrete tasks and to-do items are checked off. Focusing on creative projects when energy and attention are at their peak allows for better productivity and prevents creative tasks from being neglected.
3- Set up a space conducive to work
Want a workspace conducive to productivity? Start with your chair. Beyond the obvious health benefits associated with proper posture, a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology stated that sitting up straight and sticking your chest out can increase your productivity and creativity. Even if you don't have a permanent office or work space, find yourself a flat surface for your computer, a comfortable chair that supports good posture, and keep essential items like your water bottle, headphones, planner, and writing utensils nearby. Kutcher suggests that a well-organized workspace can enhance energy levels, motivation, and overall well-being during work.
4- Set a timer, execute your tasks, move on.
For those tasks that tend to get bumped to the bottom of your to-do list because you simply don't have time to take it all on right now, try time blocking. Kutcher suggests setting a timer and fitting as much of one task into that time window. She says, "Whether it’s cleaning the house or knocking out your inbox or writing that blog post, there’s something about a timer that motivates us and helps us to focus on one thing eliminating the desire to multitask."
This is a great way to replace the expectation of completing a task with the realistic intention of moving it forward.
5- Focus on the big picture
When faced with an overwhelming number of tasks, it becomes crucial to prioritize and simplify your to-do list. Starting from the big picture, try breaking down your responsibilities into manageable chunks and focusing on what truly matters. By evaluating tasks based on urgency, importance, and alignment with your goals and values, you can identify those that can be delegated, postponed, or eliminated altogether. This process allows you to regain control and focus on the tasks that will have the most significant impact on your well-being and progress.
There is no one-size-fits all approach to time management, and even a strategy that works for you one week may not be helpful for you the next. However, if you can lean int your intuition, listen to what your mind and body needs, and prioritize your needs from there, you should be able to get into a rhythm that not only keeps you moving forward and makes you feel good too.
1. JennaKutcherBlog.com, June 2023