How To Underwhelm The Overwhelm
Paper piled high on all flat surfaces, email in-boxes bursting at the seams, project and completion deadlines menace your normal calm equilibrium. Days fly by punctuated by too many meetings, the quality of which are usually abysmal, and the entertainment factor is zero.
Keeping up to date with your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Line, Instagram, Pintrest accounts saps your mind and body. The black, oily tsunami of stuff just keeps coming, no matter what you do. Life is short and is this all there is to look forward to – years and years of this regimen? How do you grow when you are constantly being pushed backward, fighting for survival, swimming against a roiling sea of stuff?
"While the music is playing you have to keep dancing". Uh oh! Is that really the case? Can we keep dancing or will we suffer a major intervention that wrecks everything, because we can’t find a way out of this impending doom and gloom of overwhelm.
Here are some ideas on how to create interrupt in your life and master the daily turmoil. Take stock of the issues and create some clarity about the field of battle confronting you. List up the offending items that are overwhelming you, "speak their name" to make them visible and less daunting. Dig further for each item as to why it is a constant irritant.
For example, "I pile up paper as a way of not losing it, but I don’t get back to dealing with it". "E-mail has become untenable, there is so much excess flow, I can’t keep up and things begin to drift". "I have all of these projects noisily buzzing around, at various points of completion, and they are like a dark cloud of impending doom that hovers over me". "Meetings suck the life force out of me by devouring my precious time and energy, compounding my woes and squeezing the little non-meeting time available to me". "Business social media is a modern day digital habituant, spreading fast and wide, debilitating all who come into contact with it".
We cannot do everything, but we can do the most important thing, so start by deciding which nightmare is the highest priority. Create "block times" in your schedule, which are appointments with yourself, recorded in your diary. For that period of protected time attack the offending item with gusto, starting by deleting all the backlog of stuff whose use by date has passed. Get the survivors into a priority order for attack.
If it is paper, throw it out and file the rest into one file, arranged in priority order for the next assault. If it is email, select alphabetic filtering, so you dismiss masses of emails at one go. With the remainder, move items into new folders called Priority 1, Priority 2, Priority 3. If it doesn’t make it into one of these three delete it. If you are a notorious hoarder (like me), and cannot press the delete button, then put it in a new folder called Just In Case. Only after that process has been completed, roll over and give up! Hey, if there is still some item that is that important, the other party will remind you with their follow up, so relax.
For projects, stop the bees buzzing in your head, by writing them all down on a long list and then attach priorities to them. Start working on the main priority projects first. Just by plucking them out of the ether, we realize the awful truth – we have too many things on the go and this is ridiculous. We can now attach more realistic timeframes for completion.
Meetings are tricky, because often we have little in the way of choice and few options. Consider your compulsory attendance character building – "what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger".
For business social media, face the fact that you have become a heinous glutton, and have seriously over indulged. Be violent toward non-essentials. Axe them or at the least, banish them from your purview. Make some choices about where the highest value lies and spend your downtime there.