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Stress peaks and valleys

The "Season" is Approaching: How to Conquer the Overwhelm

Tips to Manage your Stress Seasonality

Mindmap for focus in an age of distraction

Five Tips to Overcome the “Overwhelm”

“I am so overwhelmed!”  “I have so much to do, I don't know where to begin!”  “How am I going to get it all done?!”

These are not uncommon comments or pleas that we hear it these days.  It seems that everyone's plates are full or are becoming fuller.  The pressures created by these recessionary times are only adding to our frustrations.

Nantucketers have seasonal stress. Working peaks and valleys. Their overwhelm may show up differently than for those making a living in non-seasonal communities, but it is overwhelm all the same.

Here are some strategies to deal with these feelings of being  overwhelmed:

Accept that you will never get it all done. 

For people of action, there will always be more to do.  If you give yourself permission to not get it all done, you can minimize some stress. Once you’ve made this agreement with yourself, it enables you to more freely choose what you will focus on.

Decide what is most important, and work on that item. 

Some people save the most important stuff for a block of time that they think they will have in the future, and instead, knockoff several of the lesser important, easier items.  This is a poor use of that precious commodity – time. While handling the small stuff may help people feel good for the moment, the big, important project is still not getting done.  By taking a few moments to plan your work, each day, you will be able to decide what is most important, and focus your efforts there.

Focus only on the task at hand. 

Many times, people will be thinking about everything else on their to do list while they are working on a certain project.  This not only distracts people from doing a good job on the project at hand, but it can add stress.  Therefore by focusing on the task, fully and completely, you can do a better job on it, and reduce your stress about the other things on your list. This also means that you should minimize your interruptions as best you can—as an example, close down your email so the ding or flash cannot destroy your concentration.

Say no. (Nicely)

Some of us have a hard time saying no to requests from others.  For you to get the most important items done, there may be times that you need to simply say no!  Many folks who feel overwhelmed feel that way because of an inability to say no to requests from others.  So, before you say yes, next time, take a breath and figure out where it will lie among your priorities.

Own your attitude. 

If you feel overwhelmed, it is most likely because you have allowed yourself to feel that way.  You can choose to feel overwhelmed by all of the work on your list, or you can choose to focus on the task at hand.  When you feel yourself being sapped by an emotional response to your to-do list, try to stand back and recognize that your emotions are your choice.  By shifting your response to one that is positive and focused on the task at hand, you can enjoy the progress you are making. Your attitude is your choice.  Which one will you choose?
Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC is CEO of The Egan Group, Inc., a nantucket based professional coaching firm.  Visit for twice weekly short, sweet "Success Boosters". She can be reached at [email protected].