Hands up who feels like they can slide in to a state of overwhelm at any second?
If one more person asks you to help them out, or a ‘must-do’ appointment ends up in you calendar, you might scream.
Add to this the stress, your own list of things you’ve got to do, such as calling your Mum; washing the car; meeting a friend for coffee; taking your dog to the vet; buying your son a new soccer ball for his game on the weekend; replying to flagged emails; watching an episode of Orange Is The New Black and updating your business expenses…to name a few.
When there are a million and one things in your head, it’s very easy to feel like there is never any time to do what really needs to be done.
The solution is to create Mental White Space to give your mind room to breathe, relax and calm down.
Next time you feel like your inner chaos is out of control, follow these three steps to overcome overwhelm in less than 15 minutes:
Step 1: Write It All Down
Take a solid 10 minutes to write everything down to get it out of your head and I mean EVERYTHING. Every task, chore, like to-do, should-dos, and want to-dos all craving your attention, needs to go on one big piece of paper.
Think about it seriously and I’m sure you will easily fill the 10 minutes with a list of things swirling around for you on the inside and deep below the surface.
Step 2: Delete The Never-Dos
Well done! Now you’ve got your incredible (and somewhat scary) list, look over it again and cross out each item you know deep in your heart you will NEVER do.
Such as climb Mt Everest or meet Prince Harry. As nice as they would be, are they realistic? No? Delete them.
Step 3: Cut The Crap
Now your list is getting smaller, but it’s still relatively full of ‘nice-to-dos’ and the plain old bland and boring!
So, go through your list again and this time cut out all the crap. You know the stuff that will get done one day but shoulda, woulda, coulda…whatever!
They could be as mundane as washing the car; transferring your old CDs to iTunes; reorganising your wedding photos or sorting the Tupperware draw.
You know the ones… Cut them!
Doesn’t it feel great to be free of these demands on your time?
Now your list should be left with nothing but the important must-do tasks and day-to-day priorities essential to the general running of your life.
Because what remains is a checklist of jobs that genuinely require your time, you should feel more comfortable to schedule them in your diary and take inspired action to get them done, finally creating both mental white space and a peaceful inner calm.
After you’ve tackled this activity, let me know in the comments below, how did it make you feel to get things off your list? Are you prepared to let go of some jobs more than others? Do you feel lighter at all? I’d love to hear how you went with this exercise.