Feeling Overwhelmed? How to Get Back in Control

Feeling overwhelmed? Get clear on your priorities and set limits on where and how you spend your time are a couple of the steps to taking back control.

I’ll be the first to admit it: I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew.

I do it because I have a lot of goals, and I know how short and precious our lives are.

However, I also realize that when I put too much on my plate and set out to accomplish too much at once, I end up feeling frustrated, irritated, tired and generally unhappy.

I’m glad that I push myself as hard as I do, otherwise I would never know where the line between “managed and organized” and “complete chaos” lies.

Sometimes it’s easy to scale back to the “managed and organized” side of life; other times it’s not.

For example, I wanted to go back to school for an MBA. I like school. I did well as an undergraduate. I wanted to challenge myself and exercise my brain. So, I jumped through all the hoops and started.

Let me just say, uh yeah, I’m definitely challenging myself.

This first semester of my MBA program is “challenging” the crap out of me. I’ve never studied for a test only to receive a D+. It was quite a wake-up call.

It showed me I needed to put in more time and study harder. Scaling back my efforts is not an option. Meanwhile, I also have obligations to my family, friends, my job and Tenacious Lee.

Bam! Hello, “complete chaos.”

When I find myself back on this side of the fence, I first carve out an afternoon or evening to just be. I rest. I relax. I read. I recover. Chris Guillebeau recently wrote a fabulous post about the importance of rest and recovery.

Next, I check and make sure I’m following my 12 tenacious health habits.

Then, I remind myself of my priorities. Do my priorities show up in my daily to-do lists? Do my actions mirror my intentions?

Next, I look at where and how I’m spending my time. Where can I find more time to study? How much television am I watching? How much time am I spending cooking? Are there healthier, faster meals I could make?

Then, I set limits and follow my new schedule. I won’t make any meals that take more than half an hour. No television unless studying is complete, etc. When it’s time for fun, have fun — don’t keep work or school on the brain. 

Finally, I remind myself of these amazing words of wisdom from John C. Maxwell’s book Today Matters that I just read in this month’s issue of Success magazine. (No, I am not an affiliate.)

“The first ingredient of success – making good decisions – has no real value without the second, which is practicing good discipline … Decisions help us start. Discipline helps us finish.

Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is often painful. But we need to recognize that there are really two kinds of pain when it comes to our daily conduct. There’s the pain of self-discipline and the pain of regret. Many people avoid the pain of self-discipline because it’s the easy thing to do. What they may not realize is that the pain of self-discipline is momentary but the payoff is long-lasting.”

The article also includes a daily self-discipline checklist:

Just for Today I Will…

  • Choose and display the right attitudes.
  • Determine and act on important priorities.
  • Know and follow healthy guidelines.
  • Communicate with and care for my family.
  • Practice and develop good thinking.
  • Make and keep proper commitments.
  • Earn and properly manage finances.
  • Deepen and live out my faith.
  • Initiate and invest in solid relationships.
  • Plan for and model generosity.
  • Embrace and practice good values.
  • Seek and experience improvements.
  • Act on these decision and practice these disciplines, and then one day…

I will see the compounding results of a day lived well.

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This entry was posted in Diet and Nutrition Goals, Financial Goals, Fitness and Exercise Goals, General Health Goals, Goals, Habits, Life Lessons, MBA Goals, Productivity Goals, Relationship Goals, Spiritual Goals, Stress Management Goals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Feeling Overwhelmed? How to Get Back in Control

  1. I love the list of verbs! And thanks for the props — all the best with world domination and everything else.

  2. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    Thanks so much, Chris, I wish I could credit myself for those. Go figure that world domination isn’t as easy as you make it look!

  3. jennifer says:

    I also have (and have always had) the habit of taking on too much. However, I find when I don’t have “too much on my plate,” I tend not to get anything done. Whereas when my plate is overflowing, I tend to be highly productive because I know I have a lot of ground to cover. Don’t get me wrong, I do come to a point every couple months where I feel like I need a break…and maybe I need to start taking one every now and then. But for me, being involved in “too much” goes a long way. If I’m not involved in anything, that’s when I get myself in trouble. 🙂

  4. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    I agree that I also get more accomplished when I’m super busy. I think I could do a better job of not being one extreme or the other (doing nothing vs. doing too much). Taking it one day at a time, deep breathing and checklists have made the chaos a little more manageable!

  5. Kristen Stotts says:

    Great post! I am definitely going to try and apply some of the things you mentioned in it. I may, or may not take on a little too much here and there — and I think relaxing and hitting my reset button could really help. Working under stress never makes work faster or easier:)

  6. Laura Lee Bloor says:

    I like the approach of “Just for Today…” because it allows you to just breathe and focus on one day at a time. When I start thinking about the future and about all of the momunmental undertakings I’m working on, I start to freak out and stress out. For example, when I start to stress about jumping into business calculus this summer. And for sure, “working under stress never makes the work faster or easier.” Rather, it makes it slower and harder.

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