Thursday, August 23, 2018

Five Quick Ways to Manage Overwhelm - guest post by Brooke Davis

If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, I have a great gift for you today.  I am absolutely thrilled to bring you a brilliant post today from guest blogger Brooke Davis.  Brooke is the CCO of Roots of Abundance, and she helps empower people to take a heart-centered approach to figuring out what they really need so they can truly enjoy life.  I asked Brooke to write for LifeTales Books because one of the things she helps people through is overwhelm.  I've stopped counting the number of people who tell me they can't do anything with their pictures because they're so overwhelmed.  While I have lots of tips, articles, and video tutorials about {how to stop swimming in your photos}, if there's more overwhelming you than just your number of photos, it's best to start there.  

Brooke has an impressive, thorough guide to managing overwhelm which you won't want to miss!  You can download the guide free {right here}.  (In fact, it's so thorough and amazing that I'm honestly a little shocked she gives it away!)  Below the free download to manage overwhelm you'll find a link to Brooke's online class "How to Manage Overwhelm and Do What Matters Most" if you'd like to "go whole-hog," as she calls it.  :)   Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom, Miss Brooke!  

I like to think I'm fairly good at managing overwhelm, but I learned a lot from this post!  So I won't keep you from it any longer.  Here are Five Quick Ways to Manage Overwhelm by Brooke Davis

Do you rush through each day feeling swamped by too much to do and too little time to do it?  Are you so worn down by the end of the week that you just want to collapse in front of the TV or  do something mindless to relax? If so, you’re probably living in a constant state of overwhelm.

Given the pressures you may feel at home and work, it's not surprising that you believe you'll
never be “caught up” or have a moment to call your own. It's during these times that you need
surefire ways to cut through the noise of the world (and the messages you tell yourself) so you
can make progress on projects with the least amount of stress and worry. Here are five quick
ways you can manage overwhelm and start taking action today.

1.  Manage Expectations - Or Others Will Manage Them For You

Nothing can derail progress faster than setting unrealistic expectations. And when you're
overwhelmed, it can be easy to misjudge the time and energy you need to not only get going on a
project but also to complete it. Managing expectations starts by getting real: with yourself, with
others, and with your situation. What do you expect of yourself? Are your expectations realistic
or are you setting yourself up to fail through taking on too much too soon? Who needs to be “in
the know” about what you're doing and why? What type of support do you need from others and
how can you ask for that support? Lastly, think about your situation or project and what would
satisfy you without getting lost in perfectionism and overthinking. Setting reasonable
expectations, communicating them, and then taking small steps toward your satisfactory (but not
necessarily perfect) outcome will help you make progress without getting discouraged.

2.  Notice Your Focus by Prioritizing

Overwhelm is often caused by writing down everything you need to do and then thinking you
need to complete every task RIGHT NOW. You dive into Get It Done mode without reflecting
on what must be done now vs. what can be held for later. You can escape the trap (and the
panic) of RIGHT NOW by developing the habit of prioritizing; what must be done immediately
and what can wait? By prioritizing your focus, you move from a place of scattered chaos to a
place where you can literally see the way forward. This allows you to confidently work through
your list with a sense of purpose which will leave you feeling productive instead of like you're
spinning your wheels.

3. Organize To-Do’s by Should and Must

As you go about prioritizing your list (and hence your time and energy), it's critical to make the
distinction between what you “should” do and what you “must” do. Shoulds are things that you
and others expect you to do; musts are non-negotiable. Musts compel you to take action; they
speak to your soul. Musts have to come first. Your focus and your musts work together as a
beacon of light that leads you out of overwhelm and into a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Cross your musts off your list first and then look at your shoulds. Examine every should and ask
yourself what would happen if you didn't do it. Be honest with yourself with your answer. Your
feelings will guide you to what is a must and what is a should. Let those feelings help you
decide if something absolutely has to be done and what may not need to be done at all.

4.  Learn to Set Limits and Boundaries

One of the main reasons many people stay stuck in overwhelm is that we don't take time to set
limits and boundaries first with ourselves, and then with others. By setting limits with ourselves,
we honor our time and energy, two of our most precious resources. This helps keep us healthy
mentally, emotionally, and physically. We are then able to set limits with others through our
own choices and conversations around what we do each day. Limits with others help us build
and honor a foundation of mutual respect, commitment, and strong self-esteem and self-worth.
By asking yourself where you can set better boundaries with yourself and others each time you
feel overwhelmed, you reclaim your power to choose not only how you live your life, but also
how you can maintain your health, which benefits not only you but others as well.

5.  Use Your Precious Energy Wisely

The first four directives all lead up to this one; use your precious energy wisely. Each of us has
the same 24 hours in a day, and each of us will use those hours differently. To get the most bang
per buck out of your time, think about where and how it can be best used. Where can you do
something that will save you time in the future? How can you take one action that accomplishes
several purposes? How can you simplify a task so it can be done more efficiently? Where can
you get creative and use outside the box thinking to solve a problem? Lastly, take time to look at
what you must do and ask what would happen if you only spent a minimum amount of time on it.
If you really want to be bold, ask what would happen if you eliminated tasks altogether.

If you find yourself dealing with overwhelm, take heart in knowing those feelings are normal and can be managed. By setting realistic expectations, focusing on the right things, sorting tasks as
must and should, setting healthy and effective boundaries, and using energy wisely, you can cut
through chaos and regain a sense of influence and control over your life.

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Don't miss my video tutorial on the simplest way I know of to stop photo overwhelm:  {How to Stop Being Overwhelmed by Your Pictures}.  Find more tips on how to stop feeling overwhelmed by your photos {here}, then find a memory-keeping method that will work for your time and budget {here}. There's no time like right now!  #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs


  1. It makes me sad that so may people feel stressed and have anxiety now days. Thankfully I don't have a problem with either. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. It really is a very common thing these days. I started this blog almost 9 years ago to help people do something meaningful (and high-quality) with their photos, but a few years ago I started hearing more about time constraints and overwhelm, so I'm always on the lookout for wisdom on those topics. Overwhelm can be paralyzing! I loved these thoughts and tips from Brooke. Thanks for stopping by, Jann, and for the comment. :) Glad you aren't weighed down by stress and anxiety!


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