We can all cross the line from being highly productive to becoming completely overwhelmed. But, why? Here are 5 reasons why we become overwhelmed and some solutions you can use to get your mind back on track:
1. Distractions - There are 2 very real types of distractions that we all deal with - ones that we can control and ones that we cannot. Some that we can control are:
Checking our phone every time we see or hear a notification (guilty). Instead, try putting your phone completely away and/or on silent while you work on the task at hand. I had a leader make me turn off the Outlook pop-up notifications as well which really helped me stay focused.
Mindlessly checking social media for a "break." I see the appeal here but, if you really need a break, take a real break for the full benefit. Walk around the office, run the stairs in your house, talk with a friend, or do something else that truly allows your mind to relax.
Deciding that we need another snack (really easy to do while working remote). Eat at set times and only allow it at that time. Best of luck...
Over analyzing everything as a form of procrastination. Figure out what you truly need to know to complete the task and move on once you have that information.
There are many distractions that we cannot control. A few are, illness, kids being home during the day, unexpected yet important business calls, and summer snowstorms that knock out your power (true story for Colorado residents this week). When these arise, we need to be able to identify them and handle them in an emotionally intelligent way. Give yourself a break and know that these things will pass and you will be right back on track.
2. Disorganized Behavior Management - The more common phrase is, "Bad Time Management." We all have the same amount of time in a day so it is about managing our behaviors rather than our time. This is a huge topic of study and there are many suggestions out there. My favorite is to plan your day before it starts and then take it one step further by blocking time on your calendar to complete each task. This does not work for everyone but, for those who are really good at focusing on one thing at a time, it can greatly increase productivity and reduce stress each day.
3. Trying to control the uncontrollable - When was the last time you worried about if you made a bad hire after you already hired them? Instead of worrying about the potential outcome, change your focus to, "What can I do to support this person and help them achieve their desired results?" Of course, we want to make sure their desired results align with company success.
4. Being fearful of uncertainty - Negative thinking is common and being overly positive can also cause problems. It is best to be realistic while also looking for solutions rather than issues. Fear arises when we focus on the issues and potential failures. When our minds are stuck in the fear zone, we cannot come up with positive solutions and the feeling of overwhelm will take over. A good exercise here is to write down the possible outcomes (good and bad) and think strategically about how you can achieve the right solution while taking the necessary steps to avoid the failures. You can take it one step further by breaking down the steps into daily goals that you need to achieve to stay on track.
5. Focusing on too many priorities at once - We all have so much going on, especially now. Homeschooling kids, running a business, achieving great results at work, keeping the house in order, maintaining relationships with friends and family, taking care of ourselves, and many more. The trick that I like to use here, is focus on one priority at a time. For example, you could block off 8:00AM to 10:00AM and dedicate this time to the most important initiative to grow your business and from 6:00PM to 8:00PM is dedicated family. Obviously, there needs to be flexibility here but, if you can prioritize your tasks and try hard to separate them, you will feel more balanced and less stressed. Finally, breathe, take one step at a time, get exercise, and help other people while you better yourself.