You’re sitting at your desk. You’ve got so much to do, you don’t even know where to start. You feel so behind. Your eyes are tired from staring at the screen, and your shoulders are aching and full of tension. You try really hard to focus, but the harder you try, the harder it gets.
You tell yourself to get a grip ‘come on, sort yourself out!’ – but nothing happens. Yet, you have all the energy for mindless trawling of Facebook, Twitter, and then find yourself lured down into a whole maze of rabbit holes, all of which have nothing to do with what you’re supposed to be doing.
The last thing you want, is to get to the end of another day, and have nothing to show for it, or worse still, have to work late into the night to catch up on stuff you should have done earlier. Yet, here you are – again. What you are experiencing, is overwhelm, and here’s what you can do about it right now, so that the rest of your day can start to go better.
1. The Ten Minute Fast Walk
Step away from the desk. Last time you checked, you’re not physically attached to it, so you can do this. Often when we’re overwhelmed, we think to ourselves just dig deeper, work harder, get it done. None of this is effective. What you need is a break. Those that know me will have heard me talk about The 10 Minute Fast Walk. First rate how you’re feeling on a scale 1-10, then go outside and walk (fast, as though you’re late for meeting a friend) for 5 minutes. Then, rate your mood again 1-10 where is it – has it moved? Turn around and walk back, fast, and when you arrive back, rate yourself again. How much better do you feel already? Still 4 more things to do yet.
2. Drink Water
Now, get a bottle (of water!) by your desk and start sipping it regularly, what you’re aiming for is 1.5 to 2 litres a day. Don’t gulp it down, sip regularly so it actually gets absorbed where it needs to go. If you’ve got to 4pm and barely drunk any water today, this will explain a lot about how you’re feeling right now. Water helps – a lot!
3. Tidy your desk
Set your alarm for 5 minutes and clear any clutter on your desk. Tidy desk, tidy head. You know this.
4. Write a To Do list
Set your alarm for 10 minutes, get a notepad and write down all the tasks running through your mind of stuff you have to do. Get it all down on paper. You can prioritise later. For now, just get it all out of your head and on to paper.
Breathe through your belly, not through your chest, and breathe out for longer than you breathe in. 7/11 breathing, or 3/5 breathing – it doesn’t matter, as long as the out breath is longer. This will allow rational thinking to return, and trigger the body’s natural relaxation response.
So there you have it. Five super simple tips, to get you out of overwhelm, and back into a more productive you, ready to face things again.
Sarah Swanton is the Founder of Happy Healthy Entrepreneur, which is all about helping business owners and entrepreneurs successfully navigate their way through the ‘inner journey’ of being self employed, so they can do their best work with clients, and build a business that supports them, not exhausts them! Click here to get access to your free Mindset Toolkit for Entrepreneurs which includes the self hypnosis audio ‘Switch Off & Relax’ as well as a copy of the Burnout Antidote Framework