Do you ever wake-up feeling overwhelmed about the day?
Generally, I’m a solid sleeper. So, I know I’m stressed and at the edge of overwhelm if I’m waking up multiple times throughout the night with my brain racing.
Can you relate? This is not a nice way to start the day. But, don’t throw in the towel – your day is still salvageable!
On days like this, you might feel panicked or like you just want to crawl back under the covers and avoid the day all together.
Rather than jumping directly into your day in this state of mind, start by taking a few minutes to intentionally downshift gears to slow the racing mind and reorganize your thoughts. It may feel counterintuitive, but take 10-15 minutes to journal long-hand.
Journaling slows your thinking down to the pace at which you can write and helps you be present with your thoughts and feelings. This exercise will give you clarity and take the edge off, making it easier to move to tactics to improve your day.
With a more focused mind, follow the three steps to reassess the day ahead. The goal is to create more space in your mind and schedule.
1. Triage: Reassess your tasks, meetings, and commitments for the day. Keeping in mind the goal to move things off your plate and move you out of overwhelm, really scrutinize your list. Determine what really needs to be done by only you today, what can be delegated or even deleted, and what can be postponed for another day.
2. Prioritize: Now that your to-do list today is shorter, prioritize your remaining “Do” tasks. First, rewrite and number the Do tasks in the order of importance. Next, write the estimated time needed to complete the task. Keep the timeline tight (see blog post on work less, produce more).
3. Schedule: Rather than just working off of your prioritized list, put them into your calendar at the times you’ll complete them. This will give you a visual of the day ahead. Don’t forget to include time for breaks.
*Note: If your calendar is still overwhelming, repeat this exercise and be tough the triage and timeframes.
With the duo of clearing and slowing your mind through journaling and reexamining your day, you can shift from stressed and overwhelmed to highly focused and productive.
Tip: Keep this blog post handy as a quick guide for those overwhelming days – your overwhelmed brain will thank you!