In a recent blog post (How to handle overwhelm – part 1) I talked about a couple of tips on how to handle overwhelm. Today I’d like to continue with that topic.
At the moment I’m going through a stressful time at work so this topic is super current. What’s going on is that at the same time that we have a lot of physical changes happening in the store (new brands coming in + moving different areas around physically within the store) we would really benefit to prep for an upcoming inventory that’s happening next week. No need to go into any details here, but just to give you a glimpse into what I’ve got going on as I tackle this whole overwhelm thing myself.
The two tips I’ll share today are probably my top go-to at the moment.
1. Focus on one thing
At my current job my mind most often feels scattered, I have many balls in the air most of the time – customers to attend to, orders to place, unpacking new deliveries and finding a spot for them in the stock room and the list goes on and on. And there’s constant interruption.
The thing is that when I’m interrupted and I’m about to go back to do what I was doing before the interruption I see something I started earlier that day but never got around to finish. And since that task now has my attention I continue on with that instead of the things I was working on last (which I probably can’t remember off the top of my head anyways).
So, as you probably understand I have several things going on at the same time.
I have to admit that this is not something that jives well with my personality. I prefer to work on one thing until completion, and then move on to the next thing. But sometimes things are what they are, and there’s not much we can do about it.
So, we need to find a way to work with it and not against it.
If you’re feeling this in your life too, be it at work or at home, my best tip is to focus on what you’re doing right now. And keep a list of all the balls you have in mid-air.
When you’re doing something – do just that. Be all there. Don’t think about all the other things that you also have going on or that you just have to get done. This is where you get to work out that mindfulness muscle. It can be really tough at first, but once you get going you’ll notice it gets easier and easier as with anything we practice.
But I wouldn’t be able to be mindful if I had to remember all the things I have going on.
To be able to focus in on one thing I find it helps a lot to have a list of all the things I have going on. If there was a customer who called in and wanted some information it goes on the list. If we got a new delivery that needs to be unpacked it goes on the list. Everything (down to the tiniest of things) goes on the list so that I don’t have to keep remembering it.
2. Be content with what you DID get done
To me it’s really important to decide on my top priorities each day, and if you’re not already doing it I would suggest you give it a try. You decide how many priority tasks you want to have in a day, but I wouldn’t advice to have more than five. Write them in your to-do-list and mark them in someway so that you know these are the most important tasks. I write a star next to mine.
Several times a day I look at my list and see where I’m at with my high-priority tasks and take action accordingly. At the end of the day I check the list to see what I got done.
Now here’s the tricky part. You would think that even if all I got done that day would be my high-priority tasks (and nothing else) I would be elated. I mean, I got the most important stuff done!
But that’s not always the case – hence this tip because maybe you’re like me and never really feel satisfied with what you did. You can always do more. You can always do better. This one is especially true for those days when I feel I wasn’t as focused as I could’ve been. Maybe a bit too much surfing on the web, or a bit too much time on instagram.
This is when we need to remember celebrate the things that actually DID get done. And since you know which tasks are high-priority it’s hopefully those tasks that you have marked off as completed.
This is when we (and I speak to myself here) need to be kind to ourself, acknowledge the work that we did get done. We can’t get everything done every day, it’s just not possible. At least not if you have a long list of things you want to / need to get done. And we need to be ok with that.
I’ll be continuing with this ‘How to handle overwhelm’ series in an upcoming blog post as I have some more tips to share. If you found it useful please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or reach out to me on Instagram.