Life happens fast. Information comes at us at an alarming rate. People ask us to do things we think we should do. Good intentions that never get done.
New creative and business ideas can show up from anywhere, and we think we need to learn something new before we implement them.
An interesting email about the thing you have on the back burner for a while. You have been meaning to learn about how to do the latest blog trick, or the Facebook hack, or update your employee manual, or move. Sometimes all these things happen at once.
Really, interesting ideas come at us one at a time. The problem comes when we say yes to too much at once. At some point, overwhelm happens.
I like to think of “at once” as the pile of things to choose from, because they didn’t all arrive at the same time, just quickly in succession and it is important to not get those concepts mixed up if you are going to make the best decisions for yourself.
All decisions are connected and each can influence the next one. Each one can feel so important that it might be better to put it off, but then it can feel like too much is up in the air. It can get overwhelming at times.
When deciding what to focus on becomes overwhelming, there are some typical reactions that I see time and again. You might freeze in fear of making the wrong decision or loose your mind because you have said yes to more things than can possibly be completed in a timely manner, or feel so guilty about not doing the thing that it wastes more time than actually doing the thing would have taken.
Worry no more. There are some easy things you can do to keep from feeling flustered and incompetent.
First, if you have your intentions and purpose in place for yourself, your family and your business, all choices about which items to pursue and in what order automatically become easier. That is because to live a great life you have to ignore – or say no to – the things that don’t help you get to your intended place. All you have to do is ask yourself if this item will get me closer to fulfilling my purpose?
Next, take care of yourself first. It is usually the things that we feel we should be doing because they help someone else, that get us to the place of overwhelm. Saying yes to helping when doing so is at the expense of our own pursuit quickly becomes the biggest time waster ever.
It is actually a form of avoidance that makes us feel good for about a minute and then, resentful because we didn’t have time to also do our thing. Save time by just saying no in the first place.
Then create a system for incorporating new stuff into your life. A little structure for holding an idea, gathering details, implementing it and then reviewing the project on completion can be both scalable and freeing. Sometimes the process takes a moment and sometimes years, but it is the same structure for both.
This process allows you to add one new thing at a time without interrupting the flow of accomplishing lots. Having thought out the process of how to incorporate new things into your life makes it easy to see when there is an exception and you need to reorder a few things to take advantage of a fantastic opportunity that didn’t exist a minute ago.
So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed by all the options, take a step back, and observe how saying yes to just one will impact the things you already have going on. If the answer is good, add it into the mix. If it just feels more stressful, just say no and get back to the stuff already in play.