Freedom From Overwhelm

The last 18 years of my life as a freelancer have been exciting. One of the biggest thrills of the choice I made to move out of full-time employment was that I could choose when I worked and when I played.

Before that, I struggled for 7 years to report to work at a fix time whilst working from the same office. I’m not one that did well getting to the office at 9 a.m. sharp. I struggled with having to comply with rigid protocols. I struggled with having to squeeze in my housework, exercise, grocery shopping, laundry in that few hours after work and on the weekend. And by the time we got to Monday, I was starting the week exhausted.

Eighteen years on, and I’m feeling that way again and I don't like it. This time it’s not just a struggle. It's a feeling I’ve got too much to do – it seems like I’m working non-stop. And housework just seems to pile up and I’ve got documents all over my dining table. Conducting virtual meetings is exhausting me mentally and physically. Then there is the social obligations of meeting up with family and friends that I just don't feel I have time to myself.

And when finally, I do have pocket of free time, I feel guilty that I am not doing work or that I am not attending to something that my family needs.

Then there’s so much of new information I’m bombarded with on the news, so many perspectives that I have to analyse and make sense of. So much of conflicting news that I don't know who or what to believe.

And perhaps the biggest nightmare of all - the endless chat groups – work, family, friends, interest groups – with videos and posts that may not be relevant or list of things to-do. More ANALYSIS and MORE DECISIONS to make!!!!

By the end of the day, I just feel this DESPAIR, the feeling that so much is not accomplished, so much that is still not done. I carry with me a heaviness in my chest, lots of thoughts racing through my head, feelings of sadness and anger.

Every day I just feel like there is a long list of things I need to do and the list of things that have yet to be done just gets longer and longer.


Number 3: Quit Your Negative Self-Talk

Are you guilty of underestimating your potential? Do you often feel like you’re not good enough because you didn't accomplish ALL the things you set out to do? Do you find yourself saying things like “I’m not good enough, I’m not clever enough, I’m not …enough” AND perhaps what’s causing the overwhelm is that you have created an arbitrary benchmark and you’re working yourself to the ground to meet some unrealistic standard.

You need to change your mantra and set realistic expectations. Ask yourself:

· What is a REALISTIC measure of success for the task I am supposed to do?

Number 2: Get OVER THE GUILT

You know this very well – someone’s asked you to do something, you’re already stumped with so much to do, but how can you say NO? Then you spend the next few hours, days and sometimes weeks, agonising how to get everything done. The silent voice in your head is whispering judgements –“what will they say of me if I say no? I don't want to come across as selfish.” Have you taken on more than you can handle with the time and resources you have? The tough question to ask yourself before you accept any extra request:

· What will happen if I say no?

Number 1: Get Over Perfection

If you’re like me, you’re killing yourself with the immense need for PERFECTION! Get over it! I heard someone once say “progress, not perfection” and now I live by this maxim. In the quest for perfection, we just keep adding on to the already endless “to-do list”. Ask yourself:

What’s the worst that can happen if I don't complete this to perfection?

Overwhelm is a choice of knowing the difference between what can be done is not necessarily what must be done or should be done.

What are your tried and tested ways that you’ve successfully dealt with overwhelm?