5 Tips for dealing with the feeling
We all feel overwhelmed from time to time. Maybe we feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in our homes. Or maybe we feel overwhelmed because we get over-scheduled, over-worked, over-committed and want to get everything done on time and done well.
How do I know this? I fall victim to doing exactly the things I mentioned above. I agree to take on almost everything I’m asked to do. Why do I do that? Well, because I like doing things for other people and I’m really good at getting things done.
Why do you take on everything you do? That’s something to think about.
Recognize the Feeling
The first step to tackling overwhelm is to recognize when you’re becoming over-burdened. Open your eyes and notice when the clutter piles are growing. We can become so accustomed to seeing the stuff in our homes that when the piles grow, we barely notice the change.
Pay attention to your calendar. Is each day full of back to back appointments? Do you have space in your day to take a little walk outside or to have lunch with a friend? When your calendar becomes too full, it’s time to scale back before that overwhelming feeling sets in.
Tackle One Pile
If the clutter piles are growing, tackle one pile at a time. Think about how much time you have available to spend on this task. Set a timer. When the timer goes off stop. Put things in the trash or recycling if that’s where they belong. If things belong in other rooms, make a small stack to deliver to each different place when the timer goes off. Before you know it you will have fewer piles!
Remember (this is something I’m learning how to do) that you do not have to do everything that’s asked of you. No is an acceptable answer – as long as it’s not a work-related task! If you’re asked to bake something and you don’t have time, you can say no. If you’re asked to volunteer for something and your calendar is already full, you can say no.
Look at your to-do list. Is there anything you can delegate to a family member, babysitter, or someone with whom you work? Is there something without a due date that can be pushed back to when you are less fully scheduled?
Let Go of Perfection
While it’s wonderful to get everything done as well as we can do them sometimes, we create an overwhelming feeling when we insist that it be done perfectly. If it’s important to get a task done, evaluate how important it is the task be done perfectly.
There are tasks that must be done in an exact fashion. There are other tasks that can be just done. They don’t have to be perfect, they can be ‘good enough’.
Recognizing when we can let go of perfection helps to keep that feeling of overwhelm at bay because we can get those items checked off our to-do list quickly and allow ourselves to focus on other tasks.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Set some time aside for yourself each day. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time. Even a mere 10 minutes will suffice. You can close your eyes and think about nothing. Just relax.
Even better, set some time aside once a week to do something nice for yourself. I like to go on nice long bike rides and aim to fit one in (weather permitting) every couple of weeks. I also like to sit and work on my sewing or on a jigsaw puzzle, or work in my garden.
What do you like to do? It may help to make yourself a little list. This way when you have the time you won’t be at a loss for what you can do for yourself.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer, Residential Organizing Specialist, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, ICD Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia. An accomplished speaker and author of four books she teaches professionals and working parents how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their busy lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing in metropolitan Atlanta and in working with people challenged by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.