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You Are Here: Home - Newsletters - "Get Organized" - Article

Overcoming Being Overwhelmed

Are you totally overwhelmed by all the tasks that you need to handle today? That is a question that goes through people's minds on a daily basis, especially with the lifestyles we seem to lead today. Being overwhelmed creates STRESS and is very DISTRACTING -- keeping you from focusing fully on other tasks that needs to be done. But when the stress levels drop, you find that you have more time to deal with each item on your never ending list, and even the list gets shorter.

The first thing to do is WRITE all the items you need to do down on a piece of paper -- keep it to one sheet, one side. Next, put numbers by each task from one to ten, making all the "ones" the most IMPORTANT. Now take all those "ones" and go through the list again, numbering and reprioritizing them. Decide which one really needs to be done first -- that's the one you need to put in front of you.

Before starting, close your eyes and take a deep breath maybe even two. Take yourself to your QUIET place. If you don't have one, create a place that is free of all life worries and just relax. Sit and ponder this place until you calm down and give yourself the time to relax, remembering to do the deep breathing. When you are calmer, open your eyes and look at the task directly in front of you. Look at it and promise yourself you will spend time with it. Make a commitment to yourself that you will finish that task -- and only that task -- with as little INTERRUPTION as necessary.

If the task is too big, break it down into small SECTIONS and start on the first one. When the first part of the first task is completed, only then proceed on to the next. Make sure you complete each section before going on -- and if you start feeling overwhelmed, stop and do some more deep breathing. If necessary, think of your calming place -- maybe where you went on that special vacation or some pleasant time in your life. Stay there and give yourself the time to relax; remember how it felt, how peaceful and enjoyable it was. Hold that thought until you calm down, and then open your eyes. Continue doing this until your task is done and give yourself the gift of completing it and the feeling of COMPETENCE will appear. This is a very big accomplishment and it helps if you HONOR it, just sit and let it sink in that you have the sense of triumph about you, you have done it.

When the first task is done, go on to the next one and you will soon see that the list has gotten shorter and half the things on the list have disappeared. They don't really go away but the IMPORTANCE of every item slips away and you can handle what is on the list confidently. In this process you will start to see that each task is different, some can be done very quickly, while others require more of a commitment -- but that they will all be done in their own time. You will soon see that to complete just one task will give you the faith that you are CAPABLE of going further and that your stress level has dropped tremendously. I have found that each time I use this process; my competence to handling life challenges has been increased and that I now feel that I am capable of completing the job before me.


Copyright Mary Sommerlad 2002

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