Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Are you bawsed up? Are you 'owning it' today? Living your best life and taking photographic evidence just so no one can question your aesthetic appeal? Illustrating your day in a choreographed sequence of deftly chosen gifs and snappy one-liners? No? You must not have an internet connection.
It has never been easier to feel like you're falling behind with the pace that social media and online life moves today - Twitter, Instagram, fake and real news, Stories, posts and statuses flood through our periphery and in the meantime we're supposed to be aspirational and chase after what is hand-picked for us to scroll through every day. I get tired just thinking about it. So when you do have, yknow, actual real life stuff going on - it can all get a little much. There's a reason why Generation Y is searching for the term 'anxiety' 96% more often in the last 5 years. It's because we are programmed to move at this speed - the speed that needs action yesterday. The speed of instant.
One of my main triggers for anxiety is letting the world get on top of me, drowning in to-do lists or ideas that I keep in my own mind, but feeling too paralysed to action them. I've come up with some coping mechanisms to help me break out of overwhelm and the 'busy' trap, and I thought I'd share them with you guys today. By way of ironic apology. For being too busy to post super regularly here.
1. ELIMINATE DISTRACTION: Okay, we're starting big, but actually really simple - put your phone on flight mode. Remember the days of saying 'BRB' on messenger? Do you notice that no one does that anymore? It's assumed that we are always constantly contactable, 24/7, whenever the world needs us. Do you find yourself suffering from overwhelm on planes, when you know you're going to have at least an hour plus without contact? No, of course you don't. You condition your mind to cope for that time period. So pick up your most pressing, important task, and blank out the rest of the noise. I promise it won't seem half as scary once you just get stuck in.
2. PRACTICE MEDITATION: Oh yes - we're getting 'woo woo'. I'm not about to tell you to quiet your mind and eliminate it of thoughts, but I defy anyone to go into this practice with an open mind and not find a little bit of calm in it. Even if it is just 14 minutes of zoning out to the sound of someone's voice. Just breathe deeply and go with it. You've got time.
3. ORGANISE YOUR ORGANISATION: This might sound like more work, which I'll admit, is the last thing you want when you're feeling snowed under, but hear me out: breaking stuff down into bite-sized tasks is one thing. Let's call that first level 'sorting out'. The magic happens for me when I separate my 5000 smaller tasks into work, home and personal, and then group them by the time of day I can actually accomplish them - it REALLY helps. I feel on top of things, able to plan my day efficiently, and it stops everything from building up into a huge unmanageable clump of hell.
4. LEARN TO BECOME A 'NO' MAN: Generally speaking, I love the whole 'Yes Man' idea. I like giving out positive, accommodating energy to people and trying my hand at things. But sometimes, the people pleaser in me needs to fucking sit down. You don't have time to make everybody happy constantly. Saying no won't kill you - it won't even hurt. Get comfortable with prioritising your time, and yourself.
5. OR, GET HELP: They say the best managers (literal bawses) know how to delegate, so get good at it! You can't be everything in one person (or, if you can, more power to you - you deserve to be overwhelmed). Why not look at your situation from a different angle by enlisting a fresh pair of eyes, or make home time more relaxing by paying for someone to come and clean your space for you, if you're in a position to afford it. There are always plenty of people willing and able to help out, if you'd only ask or look for them.
Being overwhelmed can be a hugely positive or a very negative situation - it's all in perspective - but hopefully some of the tricks and tools above will give you a kickstart to act rather than react, and take back control of what's getting on top of you. Choose to be inspired and productive - I promise it'll make a big difference!