The Cure for Chaos & Overwhelm
“How are you doing?”
When I was a young mom, people used to ask me this a lot, and 90% of the time, my response was:
“I’m just so overwhelmed.”
Overwhelm is that persistent feeling that it’s all up to you. Everyone’s depending on you. You have to do every single thing. At once.
If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not alone. Lawyers are typically high-functioning women. (Let’s be real, we’re overachievers). So it’s common for us to feel overwhelmed.
But there is a way to combat this feeling, reset, and get a handle on things.
The cure to overwhelm 100% of the time is action.
I want to give you a quick and easy exercise that will help you take action, even if you have no idea where to start:
First, do a brain dump of your entire to-do list.
(When I say list, I actually mean lists plural because come on, you and I both know that you’ve got multiple to-do lists).
Brain dump everything - work, family, kids…
Taking the dog to the vet, hanging those pictures, fixing that leaky pipe in the bathroom - write it all down.
Don’t feel like you have to compartmentalize and keep work and family separate. You are a caretaker and a provider. Those will always be intertwined, so write it all down on the same list.
The reason this works is because overwhelm lives in your head. It's the continuation of thoughts running on repeat. Once you can actually get it out on paper and see it in front of you, then you can start to do something about it.
One of my clients wrote everything down and her to-do list was six pages long. SIX.
When she told me, I said, “Awesome. That is evidence that you have too much stuff on your to-do list. Nobody could ever accomplish that in a week, maybe even a year. That thing is crazy-town.”
After you’ve written everything down, analyze your to-do list with these questions:
What is the season I’m in right now?
What is my capacity and what are my priorities in this season?
What can I eliminate and get rid of?
Is there anything on this list that is not my responsibility?
What can I delegate?
Where can I ask for more help?
What do I need more time to get done?
What stuff is not important right now?
What stuff can I push off?
Some seasons will be busier and your priorities will change. That doesn't mean those things won't become important again.
If you're a brand new mom who went right back to the office after maternity leave, then you're probably not at the gym every single day.
In different seasons of life, it’s okay to move things off of your plate into the less important category until you can get back to them.
Lastly, I want you to pick the easiest thing on your list and do it.
I don’t care if it’s, “Call the groomer and make an appointment for the dog.” Done.
Choose the simplest thing (not the most important) and do it.
Every time you get into action, you’re proving to yourself that you can do this. You just have to take one step. Once you take the first step, the next step reveals itself.
To dive deeper into this exercise and get my other tips for fighting overwhelm, listen to my latest podcast: The Cure for Chaos and Overwhelm
Let me know what you think. I can't wait to hear how it goes.
Until next time,