When I get overwhelmed…
I’ve always been someone who can get overwhelmed easily. It’s why I perform so much better when things are in order. Physical clutter leads to a mind cluttered for me. I like drawers to be organized, rooms to be tidy, bills taken care of and a list every day of what needs to be done. Yes, it helps me to feel in control.
If I walk into an office filled with papers scattered about the desk or a room with piles of clothes and shoes, a bathroom with towels on the floor, make up on the counter and a kitchen with dirty dishes – I feel overwhelmed. It makes all the other things going on in my brain feel daunting.
But, the truth is that in a house with sometimes six people, all of those above scenarios occur. I’m the type of person who opens the mail the day I get it, throws away what I don’t need and takes care of what needs my attention. I have a computer and a bin with a couple of notebooks on my desk. My husband has piles of unopened mail and folders, cords, pens, and paper clips all across his desk (which sits next to mine). Does it drive me crazy? Heck yeah it does! He also has about five hundred unread text messages and mine are all read and responded to. We’re different that way.
When it’s just the two of us at home, I must say things are pretty neat. Kids beds are made, clothes are put away and there aren’t any three day old cups lurking on their dressers. I’m often accused of cleaning off a plate and putting it in the dishwasher before the victim was even done with it. Sorry!
But when all of us are at home, things are not in the same order. And I’ve had to learn to let it go. As much as I encourage putting things away after they’re used or hanging up clothes when you take them off or putting laundry away after it’s done – they don’t feel inclined to do any of that unless really being pushed to.
In business, it feels as if I have a billion things to tackle on the daily. Emails, checking in on my team, measuring marketing efforts and advertising dollars, looking at processes in every area, recording podcasts, going to meetings, zoom calls, conference calls, paying bills, writing copy, creating new services – all the things that come with being a business owner can feel super overwhelming.
Now, none of this is a complaint. I asked for every bit of it and I love what I do and I take full ownership of this plate. I love creating and adding to it if it’s something I believe in, but nonetheless, overwhelm is a side effect and if not dealt with can become stifling both in business and family.
I had to learn what I needed to do in order to overcome the overwhelm and keep things in motion. Here’s what that is for me: One word. Action. It’s the hardest thing to do when you feel stuck and not knowing what to deal with first, but it’s also the fastest way to re-engage, create energy and then use that energy to just do what needs to be done. The best part about it is that it puts me in the driver seat. I’m in control again and… what is overwhelm? It’s feeling out of control. Most often we know exactly what to do to get out of overwhelm, we just don’t want to do it. And that’s the first step – it’s the hardest one, but once you take it – you’re off and running.
Yes, I like a clean house. Yes, I love routine. Yes, I like my business in order. But, sometimes, the house is messy, the routine is interrupted and there’s fires to be put out. The only way any of it can be overcome is to take action and boy, does it feel so good.