a sanctuary for the curious

3 Steps to Conquering Overwhelm

Step 1: Connect to the original vision

Being overwhelmed has a special way of giving us tunnel vision. Our attention ends up feeling myopic and narrow; we lose our connection to the vision that initially inspired our actions, and we lose our connection to the world around us. To counteract the shrinking effect of overwhelm, connect to the original vision. Remind yourself of the end result of your daily actions; think of the big picture.

Step 2: Unload your mind

Now that you have connected to your original vision, it’s time to declutter your mind. Sometimes a simple salve to overwhelm is writing it all down. The mental state of overwhelm is fraught with buzzing thoughts; it’s a vortex running rampant. The antidote is to deload those thoughts onto paper where they can be dealt with in the real world. Write down all of your looming deadlines, and break down the small, actionable steps required to reach all of them. Often, once we’ve written it all down, we realize it wasn’t so scary after all. It’s actually the rumination that amplifies the stress.

Step 3: Simplify

At this stage, it should be easy to see where your priorities lie. Priorities are simple: they are things you absolutely must get done. Select your daily actions based on those priorities, and most importantly, eliminate all activities that are not those things. Overwhelm often happens when we are doing too many ancillary activities. But, you must also prioritize what you absolutely need to be fulfilled today. Some goals are long-range and require enormous stamina. The only way to maintain your stamina is to maintain your peace of mind: and that is done by making every day an end in itself. At least most days, make sure you allocate time to unwind. Do not make the unwise mistake of trying to adopt a machine-like work ethic. Human efficiency is increased by taking time to unwind.

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