Too many of us try to do too many things at once. This is when we get sloppy. We think we’re good, so we can handle many things at once. For the most part, this is right. Until we take on project after project after project. Then, we’re not so right. We’re overwhelmed.
To compound matters, we’re addicted to tech, to apps, to social media. We refuse to turn it off, so the synapses in our minds are always firing away, even at night. This causes us to sleep poorly, this always being connected. (It is OK to disconnect, BTW. Yes, even if you’re in sales.) Our difficulty in unplugging makes our sense of overwhelm worse.
Overwhelm is also a fear of hardship. We don’t like it when things get difficult, so we say we are overwhelmed and Hey, will you listen to me complain about it? Do less. You just think you need to take on too much to impress people. You don’t. Do less. No one will judge you for doing less. I promise. Just be strategic about it. Think: what will matter 12 months from now? Most things people ask of us won’t matter by tomorrow.
Write down a Stop Doing list. Everyone has a To Do list. Few have a Stop Doing list. There are certain activities that you simply do not need to do any more. You already know what some of those are. Talk about your day with a coach or a mentor and you can get a good feel for what some of the other tasks are that you should not be doing. Knock them off your To Do list! Stop doing them!
Take heart in the famous Drucker quote, “There’s nothing more useless than doing well that which need not be done at all.” Please stop doing well that which not need be done at all. You’re far better than that. Worse, you’re wasting valuable resources, both your’s and others’. Why would you want to do that?
Give yourself the Gift of No.
Learn to say No. It’s OK to say No. It is necessary to say No. Yes, it might feel like it takes some courage to say No, but you can do it. You have the ability to say No to people.
Do you know who you say No for? For you. You say No for you and your mental and physical health. You say No for your reasons. You say No for your energy. You say No to strategically concentrate your priorities. You say No to free up your time. Say No more.
Steve Jobs said No all the time. In fact, he said one of the things that made Apple so successful was the number of products the executive team said no to. This list was legion and long.
Did you know that Apple once made printers? That was dumb. And it did not happen on Jobs’ watch. Once Jobs came back to Apple, he immediately dumped 80% of the product portfolio. He said No to just about everything Apple made and sold, and then started again, fresh. Basically, he hit the Reset button on Apple.
Many overwhelmed people would be transformed by more No’s in their life. They have the power. They lack the perspective and the will to make it happen. Instead, they just try to keep everything together. Their default mode is not rested, relaxed and ready. It is frazzled, frenzied and about-to-boil-over due to their saying yes to everything. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Stop overwhelm in its tracks. There’s no need to go through your personal and professional life like this.
It is December right now. December is a month when many, many people feel overwhelm. They feel it because it is the end of the year and they want to make quota or the quarter. They feel it because they feel they should have done better this year. They feel it because they have family pressures. They feel it because they have to go out and shop. They feel it because of all the parties they feel obligated to go to (can’t say no to them). They feel it because of all the holiday candy and sweets that they feel they must eat and also cannot say no to. That’s a lot of yeses for one month: a lot of personal and professional yeses. Isn’t your calendar full enough? Do you really need to add more here?
Then, each year, January hits people like a ton of bricks. Especially post NYD, say 10 days into the month. People realize that the next year will be exactly like the last unless they do something about it. All the New Year’s Resolutions in the world won’t matter if you don’t take action towards them. Everyone knows this, but it still strangely comes as a rude awakening for people. If you really mean it and have these as goals, why wait until January 1st in order to set them and begin them? What happened to September 1st to start? What happened to July 1st to start? Certainly you had thoughts about goals at these days and times. Why not then? Why wait?
Ironically, the waiting causes us stress and more overwhelm by us choosing to not take action into the direction of our goals. If we’re honest, the waiting is simply procrastination. It’s too hard to start. The timing is off right now. I need this in order to begin. I need more team to start. I need this other app before I begin. I need my friends on social media to support me in order to begin.
Say NO to all that because it is B.S. You beat overwhelm by going, by doing, by pursuing, by acting. You beat overwhelm by staring at your goals every day and taking action toward them. You beat overwhelm by asking, “Is this the most important thing I can be doing to move toward my goals right now?” over and over and over. You beat overwhelm by saying No to menial, B.S. tasks.