It’s something I hear a looooot about from readers.
I get it.
There are a million things going on at all times.
Well, as it turns out, right now is one of the *potentially* most overwhelming times in my life.
But I’m not overwhelmed.
And it’s solely because I’ve learned how to manage my mind to beat overwhelm.
I’ll share with you how I’m doing it below.
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Beating Overwhelm.
All The Things Going On In My Life
Here’s a look at what’s going on in my life right now that could very easily be overwhelming…
I’m moving out of state
First up is that I’m moving out of state.
If you’ve never moved out of state before, rest assured, there are a million more things to do than moving within one state.
It’s so much more stuff than I ever imagined.
Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to prepare to move…
- Visit Chicago and make sure I want to move there
- See apartments
- Decide on an apartment and apply; sign lease
- Get new renters insurance
- Get new car insurance
- Sell furniture from my storage unit
- Figure out how to sell furniture from my storage unit when the road to access it is completely blocked for construction
- Convince strangers from the internet that they should meet me at a storage unit that appears to be in a construction mine
- Get quotes from movers
- Schedule movers
- Get a new accountant
- Meet with new accountant
- Move business (apply for license out of state; get money order)
- Get new health insurance (I’m on the exchange)
- Pack all my stuff
- Set up electric, gas, and internet
- Lift credit freeze to get new bills and apartment in my name
- See all my family and friends to say bye before moving
- Get new furniture, including a couch, chair, rug, coffee table, stools, desk, and nightstands
- Buy food
- Update my address for all my personal, financial, and business accounts
I’m running a business
Meanwhile, I’m running a business full time.
Here are some of the things I’m doing to run my business…
- Create courses (aka product creation mode)—the hardest part of running a business because it requires the most time and energy
- Create new content weekly (blog posts, interviews, and videos)
- Create Pinterest images for new content
- Post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Send newsletter emails every week to my list
- Manage customer service requests
- Do affiliate promotions
- Reply to reader emails
- Stay on top of accounting
- Maintain the tech side of things (which usually involves hiring Grayson Bell when something on my site breaks!)
- Continue to implement and update marketing strategies
- Actually sell my courses
- Explain to my friends and family that I do actually have to work—and it’s not just work that I can do “on my own time” (word of advice: never say this to a real entrepreneur)
I’m working part time for the Life Coach School
I’ve been working part time to get into a personal development program (I’ll be sharing more details in a couple weeks!)—but for now, just know that I have been working part time for the last 4.5 months…
- 25 hours per week of working remotely
I’m preparing for Life Coach Training and FinCon
While all this is going on, I’m preparing to go to coach training and FinCon.
Poor planning, but life coach training, moving out of state, and FinCon are all within the same month (September 2018). If you’re not sure what these are, I’m sharing more on Instagram, so you can find the deets there!
Here’s what I’ve been doing to prepare for training and the conference…
- Book flights to FinCon
- Book room to FinCon
- Book flights to Coach training
- Book AirBNB for Coach Training
- Coordinate room arrangements with roomies for FinCon
- Reply to invites for FinCon and plan schedule
- Rebook each flight 3 times because I changed where I was moving and when I was moving multiple times (I thought eventually there would be a limit to how many times you can change a South West flight, but if there is, I never hit it!)
- Take 2 2-hour tests to pass the life coaching examination the week after training, which is the week I move
I Could Freak Out
With all the things going on in my life right now, I could seriously go into overwhelm.
But I’m managing my mind so I don’t feel overwhelmed—and it’s working.
(Side note, check out my free training on How To Stop Being Busy to help you manage your time and productivity.)
Right now, I have no home. No consistency. No routine. No certainty.
When you move, everything is crazy.
My cousin (who I live with right now), just looks at me sometimes (usually when something has gone wrong) and says something to the effect of, “are you sure you want to move to Chicago? This really does not look fun.”
The reason this isn’t overwhelming to me is that I’m following the steps below.
I made a decision to move. I chose Chicago. I’m honoring it. I made a massive action list of everything—down to the last detail—and put it all on my calendar. When something new comes up or something else happens that wasn’t planned, I add it to the list. I continue to focus on the facts and solve each problem, without making it mean anything. I let go of caring at all what other people have to say about it. I’m constantly remembering to choose not to indulge in overwhelm.
I decided ahead of time not to get stressed or overwhelmed and instead look only at the facts and for solutions.
There’s math and there’s drama.
This is one of the greatest lessons if you apply it to your life.
There are the things that happen, then there are the thoughts you choose to have about them.
Overwhelm doesn’t have to be a part of your life.
When I’m talking about overwhelm, I’m talking about the feeling you spin out in when you say things like…
- I’m just too busy
- It’s just too much
- I just can’t handle it
- I’m so overwhelmed right now
- I’m too exhausted
- There’s too much going on
- I can’t handle it
Overwhelm is always laced with self pity (I am admittedly a recovering self-pity-ahololic!). Most people indulge in self-pity but refuse to acknowledge of admit it.
Overwhelm is an indulgent emotion. It’s not caused by your circumstances. It’s caused by what’s going on in your mind. It’s caused by your attitude and thinking about what it happening in your life.
Your brain is programed to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be efficient. This is what’s kept us evolving – it’s kept us alive up to this point. We’re at a point in evolution where our brain doesn’t know what to do because we have so many decisions—more than ever before. Think about the number of food options in a grocery store. Think about the career options you have. You can be anything you want. Think about the options you have in a single day. More than ever before. This is the first time in history we have had so many options, and our brain freaks out about it.
This isn’t bad. It means we need to train our brain to deal with it all.
We need to become more disciplined. We need to train our brain to handle all the options. We need to incorporate constraint into our life.
When you train your brain to manage a ton of options, you set yourself up for success in the future. Options aren’t going anywhere. The only way you’re going to beat overwhelm in our modern society is if you learn how to reprogram your default thinking so that it supports finding solutions instead of going into overwhelm.
Your options are to go and hide I your bed, overeat or overdrink, watch Netflix all day, OR train your brain to manage all the options.
Too much of something doesn’t cause overwhelm. It’s the way we think about it that causes overwhelm. Our thoughts are simply undisciplined.
When you indulge in overwhelm you are repelling the options available to you. You repel money. You repel opportunity. You repel all the abundance that you so badly want.
You have to stop the overwhelm. Here’s how.
7 Steps To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed
Here are 7 steps to stop feeling overwhelm…
1. Decide not to indulge in overwhelm
The first step is to decide that you’re no longer going to indulge in overwhelm.
Something I teach in Grow You is that there are useful and non-useful emotions. Since your thoughts create your feelings, you can choose thoughts that only produce useful emotions.
Overwhelm is a negative emotion that is not useful (contrast this with sadness, which is a negative emotion that is useful).
A lot of times we allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed when something unexpected happens.
When you decide you’re not going to indulge in overwhelm, it means you can’t live in “I don’t know” and confusion. When you live in confusion and “I don’t know,” you stay stuck and overwhelmed.
When you take action—even if it’s the wrong action—you will learn from it. You’ll then take different action in the right direction. Staying in overwhelm keeps you stuck.
Whenever I have something come up for the move that I didn’t plan on (like having to sell things online from a storage unit where the road was closed), I refused to indulge in confusion and feeling sorry for myself. I took action, despite the less than ideal circumstances.
2. Put constraints in your life to reduce your options
The second step is to put rules in your life (aka constraints).
The result of this is that you train your brain to consider fewer options.
I only considered a few cities when I decided to move out of Ohio. Had I considered all the cities, I never would’ve moved.
If you consider all the options, you’ll never take action. There are too many options.
Another way I have constraint in my life is that I only wear neutrals; I don’t eat meat and dairy.
You already do this with some food—think of food you don’t like, for example. You don’t eat it at all. Constraint just means adding more rules intentionally so you can make your life easier.
Your brain won’t like this. It will freak out—FOMO will set in. Don’t listen to your brain. It doesn’t know how to limit the options. It wants to go into overwhelm.
Anywhere you can put rules in your life where you limit your options, you’re doing your future self a favor by avoiding the overwhelm.
- Related: 31 Ways To Simplify Your Life
3. Make decisions and take action
The third step is to make decisions and take action.
Once you have your options limited, you have to choose, then take action.
You have to do this, even where you experience resistance.
You have to support your decision long enough to where you take action.
If you choose and second guess without following through, you’ll never know. You’ll never get results. Making decisions and taking actions is what prevents overwhelm.
I had resistance about moving. Was I make the right decision? What about Dallas? What about NYC or San Fran? Why Chicago? Should I just stay? Why am I leaving at all? What about money? Will I make enough? Is my business successful enough?
I had alllll these thoughts. And so many feelings to go along with them. No matter what, though, I honored my decision and kept taking action to follow through.
4. Make an action list of all the things you need to do and put them on your calendar
The fourth step is to make sure that you make a massive action list of all the things you need to do for whatever you have coming up (for me, this was for moving). Then, put each item on your calendar with a specific time slot that you’re going to complete it in.
This isn’t for your entire life, but it’s for whatever the thing is that’s happening that you’re about to be in overwhelm about. Maybe it’s not a move, but maybe it’s starting a blog or getting a new full time job. Whatever it is, you need to make a massive action list of each and every item that you need to do. Then, put it on your calendar.
Making an action list and scheduling it is tedious. If you do it right, you will easily have over 25 things on it. I had more than that for my move. It took a while to get the list together, and in order of priority, but once it was done it was great because all I had to do was follow the list. Any time something new came up, I added it to the list.
5. Schedule your priorities first—and everyone else’s second
The fifth step is to schedule your other people’s priorities (anything that you’re invited to do), after you’ve scheduled all your priorities.
This means you’re proactive instead of reactive. This means you have to say no to other people. It ain’t easy and it ain’t fun, but it’s the right thing to do.
I always schedule at least two weeks out. And even then, I’m very protective of my calendar.
This also means that you have to schedule down time appropriately. Only you know how much you need.
If your schedule is unmanageable, it means you need to cut things out.
6. Measure productivity based on results
The sixth step is to make sure when you’re taking action that you measure how “busy” you are by what you’re producing.
Stop measuring how much activity you’re doing—only measure what you’re producing.
For example, instead of “working on my blog” I measure how many course lessons I produce during a certain time. I make sure that I create urgency so I get something done in a much shorter amount of time than I think I need, so I create momentum.
Measuring productivity based on results is a serious game changer and way to improve your life.
- Related: 21 Simple Ways To Be More Productive
7. Separate the facts from the drama (aka your thoughts about the facts)
The final step only applies when you’re on the brink of overwhelm. All the steps up to this point are the preparation so you don’t get here. But inevitably, you will, just like I did for my move because there are so many things happening that can go wrong. You have to know how to deal with it without going into overwhelm.
The way you do this is to separate out the facts from your thoughts about the facts.
Ask yourself “what are the facts?” and “what are my thoughts about the facts?”
For example, the facts were that the road is closed where my storage unit is with all the furniture I need to sell before I move. My thoughts about these facts were “I’m not going to be able to sell my stuff. Who is going to go to a closed off road to buy stuff when it’s already sketchy since it’s on the internet? This is a problem.”
Immediately, when I had those thoughts, I acknowledged they were choices and decided not to believe them. Instead, I ignored them and took action to sell the furniture, despite the less than ideal circumstances.
If you are choosing thoughts that aren’t supportive and are based in scarcity, you are going to feel overwhelmed.
Manage your words—don’t say you’re overwhelmed or busy. This just creates drama.
You will have more peace and freedom. You’ll get the results you want.
A bonus tip I have that’s not really a step but is worth mentioning is having the right people around you that are really supportive. Not everyone is going to understand what’s going on in your life and that’s okay. The key is for you to have at least one person who you can go to for advice and support. There’s nothing better than this when overwhelm creeps in!
A Final Note!
The result of eliminating overwhelm, is that you feel good. You feel like while things are going on around you, you’re at peace inside. You have time and energy for family and friends, and you really enjoy the journey instead of wishing you were at the end of whatever process you’re in the middle of.
The more you practice eliminating overwhelm from your life, the easier it is.
Remember: your thoughts create your feelings. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s because you’re choosing thoughts that are causing that overwhelm.
Use this 7 step process to help you stop feeling overwhelmed. It works if you work it.