On Wellbeing

24th November 2023

Managing Overwhelm Webinar

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10 Key take aways

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1. Tell yourself a different story.

When you feel overwhelmed you say "I am not an overwhelmed person" or "I don't do overwhelm"

2. Do NOT stay in overwhelm.

You have to break the overwhelm circuit to avoid the path to burnout, Hybrid working and continual techno stress makes this even more important. Try a midday shower to break the circuit. Or of course a walk outside. Even moving to a different room and listening to some music. 

3. Don't be distracted or let stress build as tasks come in.

Keep focused on finishing the task at hand even if it is boring. Train yourself to let things build up around you. 

4. When everything is pulling on you at once...imagine yourself in a corridor.

Think of the things as doors. Take a breath and focus on your choice. You get to choose which door you open. make active and accountable decisions rather than letting the doors swing open and pull you in. 

5. Own the season!

If you are in Spring then focus on Spring, dress for Spring and do Spring things...don't dress for Autumn and focus on Autumn. What we mean here is that you can't keep trying to do everything all at once. Choose your focus and decide on the things you will not do. Stick with what is right for you right now and don’t get too caught up in other aspects of your year.

6. Own your shoe size (metaphorical shoe size!)

If you are a size 4 right now then don't try and tackle a size 6 problem. Recognise that in accordance with the rest of your life...sometimes your shoe size goes up or down. Look at the size of the problem and assess honestly if you can tackle it. If you are a people manager then work to understand what 'size' different people are at different points in their life. Let's be more upfront about the fact that our shoe size goes up and down. Our ability to cope is not unitary across the year. 

7. The concept of work-life balance is quite reductionist.

We are ONE person. Let's instead look at how work enriches life and life enriches work. Some of your team will be integrators. This means they are happy to WhatsApp about work at 8 pm or on a Sunday morning. Some of your team will be segregators. This means that from 5 pm they want to completely switch off. Both contribute value. It's important to work out who is what for others and yourself to avoid overwhelm. 

8. 'Just enough planning'.

Micromanaging our time can seem like the solution to productivity and reducing stress. In fact, often the opposite occurs. Instead, it is better to loosely plan. Have a couple of things that you want to get done in a day and let other things be on the list for the 'week'. Things crop up every day for everyone. This way you avoid the feeling of disappointment when your 'to-do' list stays the same.

9. However, your loose plans need goals and outcomes to give them purpose.

These help you to make plans which have meaning and direction and will help to motivate you. Work back always. 

10. Strategic underachievement and intentional neglect.

What is it you are NOT going to get done. State this in the same way you do your goals. I am NOT going to paint the kitchen this year. I am NOT going to do the garden this week. I am NOT going to go to that social engagement. This releases you from pressure in a society that is so fixed on ‘doing it all’. It helps to prevent overwhelm because you see that you can become positive about NOT doing things.

Click here to view webinar