When you’re feeling overwhelmed
You have so many things going on, that it is hard to concentrate on any one of them, and so you get less productive. The trick is to get yourself back in the sweet spot of the curve where you are working at your peak.
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If you’re actively feeling overwhelmed you first need to calm down. Close your eyes for a minute. Focus on breathing deeply. Count your breaths. An alternative is to get a little physical exercise. Take a walk.
The combination of the exercise and the separation from your workspace for a short period of time can help you to get into the zone to get work done.
Start by finding a high-priority task that you feel you can complete in a short period of time. Clear the decks for action and put away any other distractions.
Now, get to work. If you’re still having trouble concentrating, then just try to get a 5-10 minute burst of activity done. Find the smallest piece of the task that you can accomplish and get that done.
If you find that you’re being given new things to do at a faster rate than you can possibly complete them, then it is time to sit down with your supervisor and talk. There may be easier ways to do things.
Checking in about the workload might allow you to negotiate which tasks are going to be your responsibilities, and which ones can be given to someone else.
If your plate were completely clean, with limited space, what would you put on it today?
Once you’ve figured that out, you know what belongs on your plate. Constantly look at invitations and activities and requests and tasks that pop up, and ask: “Is this one of the things I would choose to put on my clean plate?”
Have the courage to stop what you're doing. Give yourself the space to slow down, so you can see the bigger picture and get a handle on things.
Take a day or two to rest, do nothing, and regroup. Center yourself so that you have the energy to make wiser, healthier decisions.
Multitasking and directing your energy to unimportant tasks and activities will overwhelm and prevent you from being productive.
Focus on your 3 to 5 most urgent tasks on your to-do-list. Focus on one task at a time.
At least one of your Most Important Tasks should be related to your goals.
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