You won’t be able to take care of the people you love unless you take care of yourself. So, to stop feeling pulled in a million directions, try this sequence of steps:
1. Capture it
Take the ‘overwhelm’ out of your head and put it on paper, where you can distance yourself from it a bit. Write down every task you can think of that you are worried about.
2. Chunk it
Once you’ve done this, group your tasks and to-dos into larger chunks. You probably come up with your own, but to help you get started, try: family, kids, career, partner, and health. Organizing your to-dos into chunks will help you see your world more clearly.
3. Choose it
Your feelings of being overwhelmed don’t spring from having too much on your plate, but from having too little, too little of what strengthens you. The specific activities that strengthen you have been drowned out by everything else. So, look at your chunks and prioritize your to-dos based on what makes you feel strong. Which ones do you love? Which ones are you actually looking forward to? Make a plan to do these first, and to find a small way to celebrate them when you’ve done them. Cradling these activities will give you strength and resilience to get through everything else.
4. Take action
Action is the antidote to feeling overwhelmed. Very often it is not the activities themselves that stress us out but our worrying about the activities. Just begin. Very often the simple act of beginning will alleviate the anxiety and stress that has accumulated.
Focus on the task at hand. Think about what you are doing rather than what you’re not getting done. Worry and time have an inverse relationship. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other. Both are suspended when you simply focus on what is in front of you right now.