Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Hitting the Reset Button: When You’re Overwhelmed and Need a New Plan

Hitting the Reset Button: When You're Overwhelmed and Need a New PlanAre you overwhelmed? Is it time to step back, reevaluate life, and come up with a new plan?

I am overwhelmed, and it’s time for a new plan. For the past week, I’ve lived in a constant state of panic. I missed a writing deadline, which is very out of character for me. I’ve got piles stacked up everywhere. My office is a disaster zone. We’ve been eating fast food or piecing together meals from leftovers in the fridge — I can’t even remember the last time I cooked a “meal.” As someone who battles a chronic illness, stress is not my friend.

As Jon Acuff would say, it’s time for a do-over.

Here’s my 5-step plan for hitting the reset button and pulling together a new plan.

  1. Identify your priorities. One reason we feel overwhelmed is because we are trying to do too much. Spend some time identifying your true priorities and the things you must do to move forward with your purpose. Those are what you need to focus on. See how much of the rest you can delegate or eliminate altogether.
  2. Pull yourself together. As my husband so wisely told me the other night, “It’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get your act together.” Grab your to-do list, and write down everything that must be done this week. Then get your calendar and schedule every must-do item on your calendar. As the old saying goes, plan your work, then work your plan.
  3. Clean up your crap. Spend some time this week cleaning up your surroundings. When your home and office are clean, it’s easier to focus on what you need to do. I love this quote by Christine Scalise: “Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.” My office is one giant pile of unmade decisions and procrastination right now, making it more difficult to be productive and focused. If you’ve got a pile of unmade decisions lying around too, it’s time to clean it up.
  4. Create boundaries. Prevent overwhelm in the future by guarding your time wisely now. Consciously decide what you want to spend your time on. Make a list of your priorities, and intentionally plan your commitments based on whether those commitments support your priorities. Let’s say your priorities are building your business, spending time with your family, and decluttering your home. If someone asks you to volunteer your time, say, on the board of your local zoo, despite your love of animals, that’s probably not the best use of your time and resources when you’re already feeling overwhelmed, so it’s best for you to decline graciously and without guilt.
  5. Go easy on yourself. This state of overwhelm didn’t happen overnight, so it’s not likely to resolve overnight either. Be gentle with yourself. Give up any ideas of perfectionism, and let “good enough” be enough for now. Slow down, and take your task list one item at a time.
Give up any ideas of perfectionism, and let 'good enough' be enough for now. Click To Tweet

How do you pull yourself together when you’re at your wit’s end? What are your best tips for fighting overwhelm and exhaustion?

Hitting the Reset Button: When You're Overwhelmed and Need a New Plan