Overcoming External Overwhelm

Two weeks ago I wrote about Overcoming Internal Overwhelm, those scrappy chronic self-sabotaging negative beliefs that keep us out of the moment and overwhelmed with our life. This week I want to explore how to Overcome External Overwhelm, which is all about how to support yourself and actually become friends with your life, your schedule and having some modicum of peace on what you can and can’t accomplish in a given day, week, month or year.

What I truly enjoy about writing these blogs is getting to translate what shows up and what works in my life as well as with the clients and groups that I work with my social media community.

Focus on your present project and tasks

For me, these last few weeks were really about the power of focusing on the moment, and enjoying the process. I had the great opportunity to bring 2 very different speaking programs to 2 very different audiences after a red eye from Florida. While my messaging is consistent in my work, Trans-FUN-Mation, making transformation fun, the actual programs were very different as were the audiences and required a fair amount of preparation and planning.

What helps me to stay present and avoid overwhelm, is to focus on the project at hand, and if there’s any kind of learning curve attached to that project, to choose to backburner other less important and/or time sensitive tasks. I put everything but chaser lights under choose for a reason.

Often in the past, when I had to backburner other projects, I was in a constant war with myself, every time I thought about the other 10K “abandoned” projects, my stress rose and my joy in the moment diminished. But when you go into choose mode, it makes a big difference. It’s been a process to be at peace with backburner mode, and often some very compassionate self-talk to that part of myself that constantly worries about “missing out” or “lost opportunities” is quite helpful. I simply breathe, remind that part, “we’ll get to it, but not now,” and go on with my day.

It sounds like such a common sense thing to do, but it’s actually uncommon sense, because most of us don’t usually do that.

Creating priority list from the inside out

Getting clear on what matters most in one’s life at any given moment is something that I work on all the time with my clients. Just recently a client came to me, harried with all the “pressing things” she needed to do and felt stressed, yet when I asked her what was most important to her and gave her the most joy, they were totally incongruent with what “had to get done.” It became clear that while many of those things needed to get done, not one of those tasks or projects were going to move her in the direction she hungered for most.

When she was really honest with herself, it became clear that she was actually loading up her plate with other peripheral tasks because she was terrified to address what was really dearest to her heart. When we really looked at the fear more closely, we addressed some old belief systems that were stopping her, in addition to implementing some “turbo turtle steps,” (Lois-ism based on the Tortoise and the Hare fable) that would propel her into action, but also feel manageable for her.

I’m a big fan of making lists and prioritizing them, but the prioritizing can’t just come from the left linear brain, it must also come from one’s heart and inner guidance. So when you look at that list, close your eyes and take a moment to breathe, and see what the wisdom and energy in your body is telling you. Terror isn’t always a bad thing. It may be a signal that you’re really scared because it’s moving you into a totally new unrecognizable place in your life and your old more complacent self is having a hissy fit!

Dead or lifeless energy may mean you have no interest in taking on those tasks or projects, whatsoever, and you even dread doing it, but alas it needs to get done. Maybe you can outsource it, or at least create some support or delegation, or “chunk it out” with lots of reward sandwiches (creating rewards before and after the daunting task at hand).

Tasks that have that oldie but not so goody “should written all over it” can often be dumped by the wayside since it’s more of a way you are tyrannizing yourself and ultimately will serve no purpose. We all know how helpful that is.

For some of you reading this you may think “Wow this sounds like a lot of work, all this checking in and reflecting, I just want to get things done.” I used to feel the same way, but I now see and experience first hand that when I take those few moments to honor the resistances, really check in with my body and my inner guidance, it’s amazing how quickly I reconnect to my natural flow of energy, clarify and am on board with my priorities, and feel more present and focused in my life.

Create a beginning, middle and end to your day

I’m not a huge fan of work-life balance because I think it’s a myth. I do believe in work-life integration, where the two very important aspects of your life both personal and professional can gel. That being said, especially for us solo-preneurs who I once heard it said, “The great thing about working for yourself is you get to choose which 80 hours a week you want to work,” you want to find some sense of a beginning, middle and end to your day. If you don’t, you’ll find that both your work and personal life will suffer.

One of the things that I find effective is to take a half-hour before I end my work day to “complete my day.” It may look like clearing your desktop (not the one I  do most often I must admit) leaving my work area with a clearly laid out things to do list for the next day in physical form or on my computer calendar (Outlook, Gcal, etc.) stack the papers, and physically lay out any documents that need to be addressed first thing the next day (I do that pretty much daily).

This way it sends a signal to my brain “Day over” and I find I am less likely to have to fire up the computer at night (something that is detrimental for most people) for work related tasks.

One of the most powerful things I do is to log in my journal a few things I want to keep track of (what I ate, exercise, vitamin, etc) but most importantly my successes for the day, what did get accomplished, what I’m grateful for, and any general notes or observations. I’ve been doing this ritual for close to 6 months and I find it to be a very grounding force, a gentle yet powerful reminder of the importance of focusing on success and gratitude before I move into the sleepy slumber of deep rest and hopeful rejuvenation.

“Remember, the faster one’s outer world is, the slower one’s inner world needs to become.”

I welcome your thoughts, comments and experiences.

Coming soon Channel Trans-FUN-Mational You Tube video series is back! In the meantime, check out my previous “Fall In Love” series!

If there’s someone in your life or an organization that you know will benefit from my work, please feel free to forward this information to them, or put me in touch with them.