Coping with overload and learning how to do less

Coping with overload and learning how to do less
image: Jurica Koletic

 

We’re all so incredibly busy, aren’t we? Someone recently said to me that we’re so busy filling every moment that we don’t have time to live well. What a terrible waste, when our workload is so great that the expense is our joie de vie.
Our workload is heavy. Our life load is too much. Coping with overload has become our modus operandi.

Sometimes the pressure to stay on top of everything leads you to working late nights, restless sleep with mind monkeys stressing about how much you need to do and then up early mornings and, and, and… sound about right?

It can’t be just me awake at 3am working out the woes of my world.

A little while ago, when writing was my bread and butter, I made a commitment to take on less work as I had enough financially and I anything else would put undue pressure on me… but then, a couple of editors I really wanted to work with suggested a couple of stories and I couldn’t say no.

I wouldn’t say no.

Then they called with more jobs that needed to be done in the same timeframe. I didn’t say no to those either.

Suddenly, my brain was like a hive of bees hepped up on Redbull. When it came to peaceful resting, the tripped out insects droned about my frontal cortex putting me in overdrive making sleep a distant fantasy.

I wondered why I was so tired, although the answer was obvious. I had taken every single iota out of the bank and my body was telling me I was overdrawn. My mind is telling me something’s got to give.

If you’ve nodded your head to any of this, you might need some of these tips.

Prioritise

What must you absolutely do today? Can you shuffle anything to tomorrow’s list, or put it off for a few days. Don’t be afraid to recognise your limits.

This is not the same as procrastination, FYI. It’s being smart with your workload.

By the way, this is not my forté.

Enforced shut down

Whether you’re working on your computer, at your desk or simply staying up late, you need an enforced shut down. In order to work at peak performance the following day, you need adequate sleep.

Also, working on computers late into the night is bad for your sleep. Research has proven that the artificial light from your screen can affect your sleep. Try to shut down one hour prior to lights out. No phone in bed. No TV in bed.

Write a list

The To Do List is your best friend. Firstly it gets everything out of your head and your can see exactly what needs to be done. Do not deviate from the list until it is finished. No Facebook, no phone calls, no faffing.

Work methodically and enjoy the moment when you’ve shown that To Do List exactly who’s boss. At the end of one day, write the To Do List for the next day and anything that didn’t get finished can go on there for you to smash tomorrow.

Brendan Burchard also loves the To Don’t list. Whatever wastes time, sucks energy, and kills your mojo.

To Don’t.

Eyes on the prize

When you’re tired and stressed, it’s hard keep your eyes on the end goal. What are you doing here? Ask yourself, is this busy-ness leading towards your goal?

If it isn’t. To Don’t. If it is, rest when needed and get back at your goal with refreshed energy.

Remember to breathe

My mother very wisely sent this in a text to me the other day, and my glib response was “Have you met me??”.

I’m fairly well useless at this. It’s amazing my face isn’t purple half the time as I lie on the floor dead from lack of oxygen.

Screw the housework

This is an important one. I’m not suggesting you stop bathing the kids and have a kitchen like a shonky restaurant at the end of the night, but again, prioritise. That pile of washing is not going anywhere. As long as you have clean undies, you’re all good.

The garden? Whatevs. The daily tidying? Can wait cos you know they’ll mess it up again anyway.

Manage your stress

A little bit of stress is healthy. Too much stress raises your cortisol levels, and messes with your hormones. Take a walk away from your desk every 90 minutes, and do not look at your phone. Go outside if you can, have a healthy snack or a glass of water, and have a mini-recharge in your day.

90 minutes is the optimum amount of continuous brain activity….after that, you fry like an egg.

 

Rest when rest comes

Take that downtime, down tools, disconnect and rest. You need to get your energy stores back up, or YOU WILL GET SICK.

I’m shocking at this. Truly awful.

At least I can see where I need to improve, no?

What about you?

Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? Anxious? Over it all?

Drop me a line at smile@yourgoodlife.com.au, and book a 20 minute Your Good Life Deep Dive phone call.

We can find out what’s going on for you, and how you can take back the reins on your good life today.

My coaching doesn’t ask why you got here, I’m all about the how, so we can then work out how best to get you out of here.

Check out this TED talk by Andy Puddicombe about how powerful just 10 minutes of down time can be.