Are you so overwhelmed by everything you have to do that you find yourself procrastinating at work?
Have you ever wished there was more time in the day to accomplish your goals (at work and in your personal life)?
Is your work/life balance unbalanced . . . too heavily weighted in work?
Join the club! In our busy, success driven culture, most people feel overwhelmed. Emotional overwhelm is a state of being your mind creates when you believe there’s too much to do and not enough time to get it all done.
According to Dr. Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, “When we think a stressor is too great for us to manage, we feel overwhelmed.” However, feeling overwhelmed is only an emotional state; it can be overturned by retraining your brain.
And the latest research in neuroscience recommends fractionalizing your tasks in order to maintain focus and free yourself from the symptoms of emotional overwhelm (i.e., worry, anxiety, procrastination, and panic). This technique can boost your productivity during the work day . . . so you won’t have to work late into the evening.
If you didn’t have to rush through dinner in order to finish up some last minute work before bedtime, imagine all the wonderful things you could do. You could go for a nice walk, spend time with your family, call a friend, read a good book . . . and whatever else you want to do.
Here are useful 3 tips gathered from New York Times bestselling author and health expert, JJ Virgin.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Are you procrastinating right now? If you don’t really have time to read this article, download the guide to eliminating procrastination . . . and stop feeling overwhelmed with work.)
Ready to release the feeling of being overwhelmed and crunched for time? Ready to overcome procrastination?
1. Focus on what’s truly essential.
When it comes to making decisions and prioritizing your work-related tasks, think in terms of what’s crucial and urgent and what isn’t as important or pressing.
Deadlines are both urgent and important, right? So if you’re racing against the clock to finish a proposal for a client . . . then that’s your top priority. On the opposite end of the spectrum, shopping online for window blinds to hang in your office or reading your friends’ feed on Facebook may both be pleasant activities, but when it comes to getting down to business . . . they are neither important nor urgent . . . but rather, common forms of procrastination. For a visual reference, have a look at Eisenhower’s decision matrix.
The key to avoiding becoming overwhelmed while you’re working is to think about what’s most essential. If there are little tasks you can easily cross off your to-do list, then by all means: automate, delegate, or delete the things you’re doing that aren’t getting you any closer to accomplishing your goals for the week.
2. Break your work-related tasks into smaller pieces.
To sustain work/life balance, take a big goal you want to accomplish and create smaller SMART goals for it. Basically, this will keep you from getting overwhelmed by what you need to do to accomplish. By setting subgoals, you’re better able to maintain clarity and focus on what needs to get done.
Align your stretch goal with SMART subgoals. A SMART subgoal is an action step that needs to happen in order to achieve your “stretch” goal. And in order to accomplish this SMART subgoal in a timely manner, try breaking it down into chunks/smaller tasks. When you break things down into baby steps, taking action isn’t so overwhelming.
This is an example of how to fractionalize goals into actionable, smaller steps.
Stretch goal: Rebrand business
SMART subgoal #1: Write a new vision statement
- Specific: Write a vision statement of approximately 14 words by February 14, 2018.
- Measurable: Yes, 14 words by February 14, 2018.
- Achievable: Yes, if action steps are taken (see below).
- Realistic: Yes, you can do this.
- Time-bound: Yes. A vision statement describing the direction of the business and its aims in the medium to long term will be created by February 27, 2018.
To beat procrastination, make a list of action steps required to accomplish your SMART subgoal. These are the things you need to do in order to move forward. You’ll want to give yourself a deadline and the approximate amount of time to spend on each step as well. Here’s an example.
- Review past performance (1 hour). Which area of the business worked well, what could have been better, and what opportunities lie ahead? Due February 24.
- Research what’s happening in your industry now (2 hours). Figure out everything you can about your business and the industry that you’re (re)entering. Read everything you can and talk to your audience. Due February 24.
- Brainstorm ideas for the vision statement (2 hours). Due February 25.
- Write the statement (1 hour). Due February 26.
- Revise and edit (1 hour). Due February 26.
Once you’ve completed your first SMART subgoal, move on to the next one (i.e, identify objectives, create a company profile, develop marketing strategy). The technique outlined above will allow you more time to take care of yourself and do other things like spend time with your family and friends.
Planning ahead and creating a stretch goal + SMART subgoals + action steps, leads to a healthy and happy work/life balance.
3. Practice self-care every day.
Self-care is not a selfish practice. It’s actually a selfless act because when you feel calm, nourished, and relaxed, you not only feel better . . . you’re more inclined to be kind and help others.
The most overlooked of the work/life balance supporting practices is taking care of mind, body, and spirit. Self-care acknowledges the importance of rest and relaxation; “me time” or “downtime” is a vital component of our life experience.
And without self-care, we can easily get sick and tired. Regularly scheduled time for personal care will also keep you from procrastinating during your workday (i.e., taking an extended lunch break to get a mani-pedi).
So instead of waiting for your next hangnail, headache, and/or a sore throat, take some time out to nurture yourself each day. Pencil your self-care time on your calendar. Do you want to spend a little “down time” practicing yoga in the morning before work? Or do you prefer going for a “me time” stroll in the evenings after dinner? Enjoy some stress free living.
Here are some great ways to rest, relax, and restore:
- Give your body 10 minutes of undivided attention in mindful meditation (either lying down or sitting).
- Use the body-scan technique to check in with your body. Notice how you feel.
- Breathe deeply. Allow for at least 4 healing breaths to enter in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you breathe out . . . sigh to release any stuck or unwanted energy.
- Play your favorite dance music and get up and boogie. Let loose and have fun!
- Take a power nap in the sunshine.
- Stretch your body and/or go for a walk in nature.
- Take a warm bath with Epsom salt and a few drops of a relaxing essential oil.
Plan ahead, treat yourself well, and enjoy your journey to success!
Stop standing on the edge of your potential and, instead, retrain your brain for success. When you do you’ll start fulfilling more of what you are capable of achieving. Ready to get more work done in less time with less stress?
We’d love to hear from you!
Please leave your comments and/or questions in the space below. And please share this valuable information with your overwhelmed friends and colleagues.