Do you ever feel like you’re working all the time and yet nothing gets done?
As soon as you cross a task off your to-do list, ten more pop up to take its place. But, you still have 24 hours in a day. And they’re never enough.
You start having lunch and dinner at your desk. Cut your sleep to 4 hours a night. Fill every spare 5 minutes you have with work, hoping to be more productive.
It doesn’t work. You just feel more overwhelmed and burnout than ever. And then you start wondering, “how did this happen?!”
Here are the most common causes of overwhelm and how to deal with them and avoid burnout:
1. You Don’t Know What Your Priorities Are
If you’re anything like me, you tend to bite off more than you can chew. You take on three new clients, agree to help a colleague with her launch, say yes to running errands for your family all the time, and sign up for a new online course, too.
You don’t want to disappoint anyone or miss out on anything. And so you try to do all the things – until you overcommit yourself and start dropping the ball all over the place.
This happens when you don’t know what your priorities are.
Get clear on that. What do you want to achieve in the next 90 days and what steps do you need to take to make it happen?
Next time a new shiny idea pops up or someone asks you for a favour, ask yourself, “if I say yes, will I still have time to work on my goal?”
If the answer is no, don’t take it on. I I keep a list of all the things I want to do in the future – when I can dedicate my full time and attention to them.
But what if you have to say no to someone else? I know it’s no fun to tell people you can’t help them, but they’ll appreciate your honesty. Plus, you can’t really be much help if you’re constantly overwhelmed and resentful.
And that brings me to the next point…
Want to make the most of your time and have the most productive week ever? Download the “Weekly Planner” below to get started:
2. You’re Struggling To Set Boundaries
Recovering people pleaser here.
I get you. You don’t want to upset anyone. You can’t stand even the thought of someone not liking you.
Guess what? They won’t like you anyway.
Let’s be honest here. When you say yes to something you don’t want to do just to please someone else, you won’t do it at the best of your abilities.
You’ll procrastinate. Cut corners. Complain the whole time. Does someone really need that kind of help?
When you constantly put other people first, you’ll feel resentful for never having time for yourself and the things that matter to you. And it’ll show.
That’s how relationships get ruined, by the way.
Do everyone a favour and be honest. If you can’t take on something, don’t. Give them an alternative, if you must. They’ll grateful you did.
3. You’re Constantly Bombarded With Distractions
Do you constantly interrupt what you’re doing to check out notifications and emails?
I get it. You don’t want to miss out on anything important. But when was the last time you received a notification that was truly if-I-dont-reply-to-this-straight-away-the-sky-is-gonna-fall important?
Here’s the deal: emails and notifications are other people’s agendas for you. Things THEY want YOU to do for THEM – without regard of what it is YOU want for YOURSELF.
Don’t put other people’s goals before your own.
If you’re really struggling to ignore notifications and emails, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Turn on notifications on your phone: Trust me, if something is really urgent, they’ll pick up the phone and call you.
- Delete social media apps from your phone: No, you won’t be missing out on anything important. You’ll just spend more time living your life instead than watching others live their fake lives.
- Schedule email time in your calendar: I recommend you checking them once in the morning, around 10am, and then later in the afternoon, when you’ve already completed your most important tasks and your energy levels are lower.
- Put your phone on airplane mode when you’re working: I do this every time I do something important, like writing an article, coaching a client, or recording a video.
4. You Don’t Make Time For Self-Care
Do you ever think, “I’ll take a break when I’m done with this presentation”?Do you ever stay up late to reply to all your emails? Do you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your desk so you can be more productive and get everything done?
I was guilty of all those things. I spent every waking moment working, hoping to be more productive.
But, the more I worked, the more overwhelmed I felt. Things never got done and I was constantly playing catch up.
I didn’t realise I was heading for burnout until my coach pointed it out to me and ordered me to get an hour off work to go get a message.
I resisted it so much, you thought she’d have asked me to have a tooth pulled without anesthesia…
It worked. When I took some time off to recharge and unwind, the overwhelming feeling disappeared.
You know what else happened? I got clearer on my priorities. I realised I didn’t need to do a lot of the tasks on my to-do list. I could delegate some of them. Others, I was just doing them out of habit, to feel busy. When I stopped doing them, my business didn’t crash. It grew.
Here’s the deal: you can’t run on an empty tank.
If you don’t put gas in your car when you’re running low, it’s gonna stop and leave you stranded in the middle of the road.
The same is true for you. If you don’t take regular breaks, you’ll feel tired and overwhelmed. Suddenly, a 5-minute task takes 20 minutes to complete. You’re constantly fixing mistakes. And everything else in your life starts to rot, too.
Give yourself a break. Read a book. Go for a walk. Have a bubble bath. Meet a friend for (virtual) coffee.
You’ll get a lot more done – and without overwhelm – when you get back to work.
The key to doing more (and without overwhelm) is to do less. Focus only on the stuff that matters and let go of the rest. It was never that important anyway.