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How to get over overwhelm

Written by Easter Becker-Smith. Posted in Featured

Published on April 03, 2012 with No Comments

One of the most common complaints today is feeling overwhelmed at work and at home.  Employers have downsized their staffs and expect more from their remaining employees. Workers often feel overloaded, unappreciated and underpaid for the responsibilities they handle and the work they produce.  I often hear people say they feel overwhelmed at work and go home drained and exhausted every day.

Bill shared his story with me recently. He is the director of his division and has three employees reporting to him. He currently has two key projects that have been assigned to him and has ideas to implement changes and improvements for the company.  He was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

Bill and I had a coaching session where I helped him explore what was causing his stress and feelings of an over-flowing plate. What Bill found out can be applied to anyone who feels the same as he did.

The feeling of overwhelm occurs when we view everything that needs to be done all at once.  No one can get everything accomplished at the same time. Bill listed all that he needed to do. He then prioritized what was most important to least important.

Bill quickly discovered that he was trying to do too much. He was trying to control things he could not control. He was getting upset and spending too much phone time discussing shipment delays due to icy weather and grounded planes. He recognized that he has no control over the weather and that the possibility of delays due to weather will always exist.

He also realized that in his desire to have his department running smoothly he was holding on to tasks and trying to control things he could easily delegate to others. Bill assigned the delayed shipment follow-up calls to one of his employees.

Bill then worked on his remaining to-do list and planned what he needed to accomplished over the next 90 days. Instead of trying to complete everything in a week or two, he took a realistic view of his responsibilities. He broke down his projects and assignments into doable steps and plotted them on his calendar. He once again saw opportunities to delegate to his team.

I watched Bill relax and then become exhilarated as we went through the process of addressing his feelings of overload in a whole new way. He used the following formula that for worked on the job and in his personal life as well.

      Control what you can control–focus on what you can do and what you can impact and let go of what you cannot control. A lot of time can be wasted talking and worrying about what is out of your sphere of control.

      Delegate—discover the difference of what only you can do and what others can do for you. Ask for help or delegate the things that someone else can do.

      Break it down—the whole looks a whole lot of overwhelming. The parts look more doable.

      Put the parts on a calendar—plan beyond the current week. Write on a calendar what you need to do each consecutive week until your project or task is complete.

To overcome feeling overwhelmed start by stopping your cycle of doing and more doing. Stop and think and plan. Use the steps listed above to achieve clarity and calm. Now you are in a much better state of mind to accomplish what is important for you to do.

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About Easter Becker-Smith

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Easter Becker-Smith provides coaching for individuals, groups and corporate teams.  She coaches individuals to help them discover their own path to balance and fulfillment in their lives.  She brings her years of experience in business as a highly regarded leader to help companies improve their productivity and efficiency by learning how to better communicate with each other.  Visit her website at www.coacheaster.com.

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