What to Do When You’re Completely Overwhelmed

5 tips and tricks to simplify your life

What to Do When You’re Completely Overwhelmed

Do you forever feel like you’re too busy? All too often, weekends are over in the blink of an eye, and our fridge doors are plastered with endless to-do lists (and takeout menus … and forgotten school permission slips … ). All of these might point to a need to simplify things. Life is for living, after all.

1. Switch off

Being bombarded with a constant stream of reminders and temptations to check in with the virtual world can quickly leave you feeling detached from your actual world. Choosing to limit your electronic time will be a challenge (who are we kidding?), but it could help you stay in the moment and focused on what you’re actually doing … so you get it done and don’t feel overwhelmed. Small steps—like making your bedroom a device-free zone or scheduling your social media time (say, 10 minutes in the morning and 20 in the evening), can make a big difference.

2. Figure out where your time is going

Keeping a journal of how you are spending your time may seem like a recipe for more time-wasting, but it could shine some light on areas of your life that are taking up your time without giving you anything back. Sure, you’ll probably have an entry that reads, “30 minutes, updating this time journal.” But you could also end up saving yourself hours when you realize that those dutiful phone calls with your chatty colleague are actually not necessary at all—emails seem to get better results, on reflection.

3. Plan a little

Knowing simple things like what your outfit for the morning is and what you are taking for lunch can give you a surprising amount of extra time and reduce unnecessary stress significantly. Maybe it will give you enough time to do something that makes you happy, like jogging around the park with the dog or sipping a latte while reading the morning paper.

4. Do sweat it

Exercise may seem like just another time suck, but look at it as something your body and mind need. Your mood will be boosted by endorphins, your mind will be calmer and your stress levels will be lower. Try the leg-toning outdoor workout in this issue of alive@work, for starters.

5. One thing at a time

Sure, your to-do list is astronomical, but it can’t all get done in one day. Take a moment to prioritize, and choose the task that will give you the most satisfaction. Then stick to it! A wandering mind can lead us to flit from task to task without fully completing any of them—and that’s a recipe for (you guessed it) feeling overwhelmed.