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I’m sure you’ve had the experience of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. Perhaps you even battle with overwhelm on a regular basis.

If you haven’t already created the foundation for time mastery, then you will be particularly vulnerable to experiencing overwhelm. However, almost all of us experience overwhelm from time to time.

But what is “overwhelm” exactly, and what causes it?

I believe overwhelm is the fear that something important is not going to get done or it’s not going to get done properly; or that everything is going to get done properly but you are going to have to sacrifice your well-being in the process. The result is a feeling of being submerged in demands and activities; and stretched in too many directions.

Five things can cause overwhelm:

1.  Underestimating how much time it is going to take to complete your activities and taking on too much.
2.  Lacking a decent plan to reach your objectives, which leads to a lack of confidence.
3.  Not recording everything that needs to get done in a system that you can trust to remind you as needed – instead, keeping it in your head and worrying about it.
4.  A lack of focus – allowing your attention to be pulled in different directions.
5.  Failure to clarify priorities.

It is important to learn to recognize the symptoms of overwhelm so that you can catch them early and take care of it before it gets out of hand. It’s much easier to deal with overwhelm in the early stages than it is once it has become extreme. So start paying close attention.

When you start to feel subtly overwhelmed, use it as a signal to implement the following steps:

1.  Reevaluate what is most important.
2.  Make a list.
3.  Put the list in order of priority.
4.  Break the list down into baby steps.
5.  Start taking action on the list items, focusing on only one thing at a time.

What makes you feel overwhelmed? What helps you deal with it?

Please share your insights and takeaways by posting in the comments area below.

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