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Taming overwhelm Step 2- List, Prioritize, Eliminate, Delegate, and Let Go

Last week, we covered the first lesson in Taming Overwhelm: be fully present with the person or task at hand. 

This week we are going to take it to the next step. When you feel like there is too much to do – start with a list. You have to get the things swirling in your head out of your mind and down on paper. Otherwise, your brain will jump around and offer that you have too much to do. So simply by listing them out on paper automatically lessons the burden. Strip them down to their basic steps so you can really see what's there.

  1. Workout
  2. Prep lunch
  3. Prep for clinic
  4. Review inbox 
  5. Set a reminder to text specialist question about John Doe at a decent hour
  6. Go to the grocery store
  7. Prep dinner, cook, chat with family about their day
  8. Clean up kitchen
  9. Transfer 401K
  10. Secure financial planner
  11. Get windshield fixed
  12. Bake cookies for the group, etc.........


Now, look at your list and prioritize items. At least - look through and find 1. What has to be done immediately 2. The rest of the day 3. By a specific date? The great thing is that you decide. For instance, I made a promise to myself to work-out most days of the week. So, in honoring my promise, I keep my work-out as a priority most days. But you may want to prioritize it differently. You are in charge.


Now, look at the remainder and decide, what can you eliminate for now? For me, transferring my 401Ks, getting the financial planner, and getting my windshield repaired can wait until I have extra time. None of these are a top priority. But when I left them swirling in my head, it added to the perception that I had too much to do. I keep them on my “future list," so they aren’t forgotten but no longer have to take up space in my thoughts. I’ll plan to have a purge day in the future to address some of these. 


Now back to the immediate and daily needed tasks. What can only be done by you?  Here we find the opportunity of developing a life skill - delegate. As high achievers, many of you will automatically think you have to be the one to do them ALL.  Let’s challenge that thought. What are you willing to let go of perfect control and give over to someone else?  Can you spend 5 minutes on Instacart to save yourself 25 minutes or more of driving, parking, shopping, and checking out? Or can your spouse grab the groceries? Can your oldest help clean up the kitchen? Can you buy bakery cookies rather than bake them yourself?


Now, for the sub-tip skill. When you decide to loosen control and delegate, let go of your idea of how it SHOULD be done.  You will lighten the mental burden when you let go of your standards. The Instacart people or your spouse may pick out veggies that don't look as good. The kid may find bizarre ways to load the dishwasher. Hey, they’re learning by doing. But really, if it gets done and suffer less overwhelm, it is a win!


We will finish up the tame your overwhelm series next week.  Until then – list, prioritize, eliminate, delegate, and let go. 


Have a joy-filled day!  Tonya


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