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When we have too much do to or feel there is too little time to do it in, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at work and overwhelmed with life.  If you have that overwhelming feeling right now, this article will share 7 tips to help you stop feeling overwhelmed so you can feel clearer, more confident and get into focused action.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed there are always some steps you can take to get out of overwhelm. There are many causes of overwhelm, which I will share in this article, along with 7 action steps you can take when you feel overwhelmed.

Overwhelm can make us feel trapped, anxious, frustrated and stressed.  Whenever you feel overwhelmed, the answer is always to simplify by doing less.

Feeling overwhelmed can be caused by lack of time, too many responsibilities, too high expectations, too much to do or comparison to others.

This feeling creates complexity, complication and confusion.  The antidote is to get greater clarity on what’s most important to you, right now and then take action steps on those things.

Feeling overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed means a person simply has too much going on in their mind and in their life.  Sometimes people feel overwhelmed by long to-do lists, impending deadlines, emotions, trying to do too much or feeling they don’t have enough time.  When overwhelm strikes it’s easy to feel trapped and stuck which creates inaction.

What causes a person to feel overwhelmed?

I am overwhelmed is a common feeling for many at work and in life.  Overwhelm comes from a feeling of not being in control and being unsure what step to take. People often feel overwhelmed when they have too many choices or too many things to do.  The antidote to overwhelm is getting clear on your goals, and then gaining greater clarity on the action steps to take and feeling confident about taking that next step.

What to do when you feel overwhelmed 

Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of life but you can stop that feeling of overwhelm?  When you feel overwhelmed use these 7 tips to get out of overwhelm and into focused action.

1. Take ownership of your overwhelm 

I am overwhelmed is a temporary feeling. Take ownership of feeling overwhelmed and take responsibility for accepting to do all of the things that make you feel overwhelmed.

You may have taken on too much work, which creates the overwhelm.  You may have too much going on in your life, which makes you feel overwhelmed.

Rather than planning effectively, you may have given yourself too tight deadlines to get things done.

If you are running from meeting to meeting, handling multiple projects and probably not giving the right attention and focus to the ones that really mattered, it’s easy to experience overwhelm.

Instead of doing everything, take a step back and get clear on the projects, people and activities that create the biggest impact.

Commitment helps when you feel overwhelmed 

Rather than overcommit, simplify the number of activities and give yourself longer deadlines.

When we see ourselves as responsible for everything, it becomes our choice to take on too many projects or not.

We can say NO to the work or the opportunity.

Setting better boundaries can reduce our sense of overwhelm.

Rather than doing everything, simplify the amount of things you’re doing.

2. Confront your fear of missing out (FOMO)

So often I used to find myself overcommitted because I was afraid to say “no.”

This could be because I didn’t want to disappoint a client or friend or I was worried about another supplier picking up the work.

I had FOMO and was worried about missing out on an opportunity.

Better boundaries helps with overwhelming feeling 

We sometimes feel like we should say yes to everything, to take on everything.

But if we gave ourselves some headspace to reflect, we would say no more often.

We would look at the bigger picture and ask ourselves questions like “Am I the only person who could do this work?”

“Does this opportunity fit within my overarching goals for myself and my business?”

The fear of missing out can be very powerful, and make you feel overwhelmed.

But in the end it is pointless as you are just following someone else’s agenda.

Stay on your own path to stop feeling overwhelmed.

3. Keep your perspective when overwhelm strikes 

When we’re feeling overwhelmed we often get so wrapped up in the moment that we can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

We can’t see a present and future that’s not full of constant tasks, projects and busy work.  Learn to be present in the moment and to be intentional with your time.

This is actually the optimal time to step back, reflect and think about what you have achieved and will achieve during this busy period.

What lessons can you learn that can help you move forward in the right way?

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take time to understand and reflect on your experience and look at the positives.

This puts you in an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset.

4. Simplify your time 

 We are more in control of our time than we think.

You may have lots of projects to work on and many impending deadlines but you can make changes to give yourself some time to think and focus.

Even though you may have a huge amount of projects to work on, you can still create space to think and plan.

Buy yourself more time by finding team mates to take on some of the work.

If you don’t have the right levels of energy and focus to maximise your unique strengths you won’t be fully committed and the work won’t be as good.

You can always create more time, say no to a project or delegate.

If you can automate some of the processes that are taking up your time, even better.

This will help you stop feeling overwhelmed.

5. Focus on the most important thing first

Multi-tasking at 20% capacity and worrying about everything drops our energy levels and focus.

Plus, it makes us really unproductive and creates feelings of overwhelm.

Your workload may look impossible, but by focusing on the most important thing first, you will make progress.  One productivity tip that will work for you to stop overwhelm is to reflect at the end of the day on everything that you achieved.

Pick three things that went really well.

Then think about the next day and the three things that you want to achieve that day.

If you are focused on achievement and progress, rather than the sheer weight of work, you will stay motivated and energised rather than feeling overwhelmed.

6. Get plenty of rest and rejuvenation

I learnt this lesson a long time ago and it has really helped me through any really busy period.

Rest and rejuvenation are essential for doing your most productive work and stop you feeling overwhelmed.

Personally, I can take on most things if I feel energised and had a good nights’ sleep.

We all have different periods of the day where we just seem to work a bit better.

For me, it is the morning.  For you, it may be in the evening.

If I am tired, I can lose motivation and perspective.  Things can often feel bigger than they actually are.

When I’m overworked I can also become easily distracted.  What about you?

Also, if you are feeling overwhelmed, take yourself out of the situation, and give yourself five minutes to think through the situation you’re in.

Go for a walk, go to the gym, meditate – whatever works for you to get refocused.

7. Make a commitment to manage your time 

Feeling overwhelmed can happen every day if left unchecked.

Make a commitment to say no more to overwhelm.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I make a commitment to manage time effectively and focus it in the areas and the projects that really matter.

Spend more of your time in the areas where you can create the biggest impact, doing the things you love to do and are best at.

Transform feeling overwhelmed into confident action

These 7 tips will help you transform feeling overwhelmed at work into feeling more clear, confident and capable.

To succeed both personally and professionally, we must deliberately build more freedom and focus time into our lives.

If we don’t then we will constantly feel overwhelmed.

No one else is going to do this for us.

Instead of running nonstop, or feeling stuck, with no end in sight to overwhelm, you now have 7 strategies you can use to stop feeling overwhelmed and get into confident, focused action.

Now I’d love to hear from you.

What’s the one thing that creates the most overwhelm for you?

What’s your best tip for getting out of overwhelm?

Let me know in the comments.

Further reading 

Overwhelmed at work? 10 strategies to beat stress

About the Author

Mark Pettit is a small business coach to business owners who want to simplify their time, energy and focus so they can multiply their freedom, impact and results.

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Mark Pettit Administrator
Strategic Business Coach , Founder, Lucemi Consulting
About the Author Mark Pettit is a leading 1:1 business coach to ambitious entrepreneurs who want to free themselves up to jump to the next level of time freedom and business growth. He is the founder of Lucemi Consulting, a coaching and consulting company. Visionary, creative, and generous, he is a hero to entrepreneurs seeking to work less, do more of what they love and multiply their revenue and profits.
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