The definition of overwhelm is:
‘Bury or drown beneath a huge mass’
If you are like most ADDers, that huge mass is ‘things to do’: Things to do for yourself, family, work, etc. It feels like there’s so much, you don’t know where you will find the time or where to start.
However, getting out of overwhelm is much easier than you imagine. Here is a 5 step plan to get you out of overwhelm…fast!
1) Get a big piece of paper
2) List all the things that are bothering you.
This isn’t a to-do list, but more of a worry list. Write down everything that is weighing on your mind.
- The car is making a strange noise.
- I am going on a trip in 2 weeks and still haven’t booked my flight.
- I don’t know who will look after my cat while I am away.
- The cat needs to have her annual check-up and it’s 3 months late.
- It’s Grandma’s birthday, and I haven’t got her a present yet.
- I am worried the flight will be delayed because of bad weather.
Once you start writing the list, one item will remind you of something else. Write them all down. It doesn’t matter if the list is really long. A long list is better than a short list but still having a lot of concerns floating around in your mind.
3) Get Practical
Next to each worry, write down the actions that you can do to help resolve this matter.
- Call garage and reschedule an appointment.
- Go on Expedia and look / book flight.
- Ask Ann who looks after her cat when she goes away.
Continue until you have written one or more actions for most items.
Some items won’t have an actionable item. For example, ‘worried the flight will be delayed because of bad weather’.
That is a worry that is out of your hands. However, when you start resolving the concerns, you can control this type of worry; the worry shrinks.
4) Time it!
Time plays tricks with us. We think things will take much longer than they really do, and so, that is another reason for overwhelm. To combat that by each action, write how long it will take. If you aren’t sure, take a guess.
- Call garage and reschedule an appointment: 5 minutes
- Go on Expedia and look / book flight: 20 minutes
- Ask Ann who looks after her cat when she goes away: 5 minutes
When you realize how fast you can get things resolved, it inspires you to take action.
5) Action stations!
Now, it’s time to take action. It doesn’t matter what you pick first. As soon as you have completed one item, you will feel great (thanks to dopamine), and want to move to the next item.
With each action, overwhelm melts away and you feel back in control.