Have you experienced ‘overwhelm’ in your professional world or home life? Often the two worlds combine to make your life seem too chaotic to handle. The list of things you need to do just keeps piling up, and it can be difficult to know where to start.
Feeling overwhelmed is natural, though, especially for the busy professional. It’s how you deal with it that matters most. Fortunately, there are some great ways to turn your overwhelm into productivity!
What is ‘overwhelm’?
Overwhelm is exactly as the name suggests – feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do. It’s not limited to your work life, either. If you combine a busy working life with managing your family and social relationships, it can seem like a lot. Overwhelm occurs when there are just so many things on your plate that you feel like you can’t juggle them all anymore.
The problem really starts when you feel so overwhelmed that you just don’t know where to start. This causes procrastination, low productivity, and the situation just keeps getting worse until you finally break. We’ve all been there, but we also know that there’s always a way out!
How do you recognise if you’re overwhelmed?
One of the biggest signs that you’re overwhelmed is a rise in stress levels. Stress affects everybody differently. You might start snapping at co-workers or family members, or you might go the other way and begin to withdraw. If you identify a spike in your stress levels, you’re probably experiencing overwhelm.
Another tell-tale sign is a decrease in productivity, or difficulty getting your day started. You might even start to criticise yourself for being lazy, when in fact you’re just struggling because you’ve got too much to do.
Tips for the professional dealing with overwhelm
We all get overwhelmed sometimes, and that’s ok. Identifying that you’re overwhelmed is a great starting point, because then you can start plotting a way forward. Here are a few tips to get back on top and turn your overwhelm into productivity.
Perhaps the easiest way to get productive again is to make a list. Write down everything you need to achieve, with due dates. Then, for the larger projects, break them up into smaller goals with their own due dates. It’s amazing what having a visual representation of your tasks can do for productivity. Sure, it might look daunting, but as you achieve each small goal, you can cross it off and feel a sense of achievement.
If you have too much on your plate, simply delegate. It’s easier said than done, because many people feel that nobody can do their tasks for them. But the reality is, delegating is good for you and for your team members. They feel more trusted and empowered, they get to use their skills for something different, and you get to take something off your to-do list.
Make time for yourself
Finally, make time for yourself. It’s difficult to do this, especially when the work keeps piling up. But if you don’t take appropriate breaks, you’ll just burn out and everything takes longer than it should. So, walk around the block. Go to the gym at lunch time. Catch up with friends for a drink. These small breaks from your busy life can do wonders for your mental freshness.
Tips for your teams
Remember, overwhelm isn’t limited to you. Your teams can experience this too, so always be on the lookout for signs of overwhelm. You can empower your people to look after themselves by sharing these tips with them. You can also create a culture of shared responsibility, where no individual is responsible for single tasks – the whole team needs to work together. This helps people to share jobs around for a more even spread.
Overwhelm can strike anybody, at any time. So, be prepared, and get back to productivity in no time with these simple tips!