For some reason, overwhelm seems slightly pervasive right now. Hopefully, it’s not for you, but if you’re human and living life, you probably know what it feels like.
When I was in high school, I used to call my dad in tears, totally overwhelmed by all there was to do and pressured by the caliber that I wanted to deliver at (yes, even then). I went to a boarding school on the east coast, so there was a lot to learn and handle on my own. And I remember how my dad would talk me down from the cliffs of maddening panic. “Take it one thing at a time,” he would say. And I would cling to the easy way the words would fall through the phone, and I would start to breath. One thing at a time.
It’s a mantra that never left me and one that I found myself repeating to clients over and over in sessions this past month. So, looking ahead, let’s all take a breath – inhaling…exhaling…relax our bodies…and repeat after my dad, “One thing at a time.” That’s it. One. Thing. At. A. Time.
When we feel overwhelmed, we have done one thing: we have given the same weight of importance and priority to everything on our list. Suddenly, making a decision about the next content piece you are going to release, calling back a new client, running out of toothpaste and needing more, needing to workout, thinking about buying that sweater you saw on Instagram, calling your mom to check in, paying those bills, and calling a random 888 number to double check the charges you saw on your Zoom account the other day, ALL FEEL EQUALLY URGENT and like they ALL NEEDED TO HAPPEN NOW.
And we love our moms. And we do need toothpaste.
But what we need to do in these moments is prioritize and schedule. And here, you might be thinking that prioritizing is about urgency. Nope. It’s about your goals and larger commitments. What are the big things you are committed to? Work backwards from there. For example, if I don’t communicate in a timely manner with my clients, my business falls apart. So, number one is communication with my clients – that means calling my new client back and getting my content organized and ready to go out on time. Now, it’s easy for me to start sacrificing my personal needs like working out in order to free up more time and power through my list, but that’s a bad idea, because if I do it once, I start making a habit of it and then I’m not a really a fun person to be around. So, I make sure I get that workout in next.
All the while, I’m starting to attune to the present moment because I’ve freed up mental and emotional space by scheduling the items on my list into my calendar. And because I don’t like being rushed when I’m checking in with my mom, I text her and get a call on the books for the next day.
Take your list, and put it in your calendar. Then leave it, breathe, and get present. The power of the calendar should not be underestimated. For me, if it’s not scheduled, it’s not happening. I’m sorry to all the dreamers out there who just cringed. I get you. I used to be you. But you can schedule free time and dream time too, and I do. And in fact, when my to do list is laid out in front of me sprinkled nicely throughout the week, I end up finding some magical moments throughout my day because I’m not in a state of overwhelm, I’m present. And when we are present, time opens up and magic happens.
So, if you got overwhelm, join me now in this centering meditation and learn to bring yourself into the present moment, take charge of your schedule, and shift from being busy to being productive.