The problem with problems is that as soon as one is solved, another will pop up for you to deal with.
That’s just life, but if you prioritize your problems, they can be easier to deal with.
According to a recent article in Psychology Today, taking back control of your day and agenda is key to stepping out of the overwhelm. Considering your priorities and commitments, and moving or removing what is not aligned with them, can help.
F. Diane Barth, a licensed clinical social worker, suggests making a list of things that are overwhelming you, such as tasks you need to accomplish, goals you’ve set for yourself, and things that worry or distress you.
List making is a tried-and-true method for organizing your thoughts and getting your fears into perspective. And the No. 1 thing on your list needs to be making an agenda.
Once you write down your problems and organize them by deadline, importance or the amount of anxiety they are causing you, it will put things into perspective and give you a timeline to follow. This way you don’t have to think about what’s coming next but can handle one thing at a time until they are all done.
Emotional attachment to getting it all done is what commonly causes anxiety — and I like to do a little yoga or meditation or go outside first thing in the morning to get my head in the right space. Reducing anxiety is always first on my agenda. With anxiety cleared away, everything else becomes much easier. Your mind is free to think more clearly, and you will be able to see a path for completing your other tasks.
Ms. Barth recommends that you break your problems down into little steps to make them easier to accomplish. One small movement forward is all you need to get started.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed because you are looking at the whole problem, the first step may be as simple as opening your computer.
Another tool that may come in handy is to deal with your most complicated issues first rather than put them off. The most successful people I know take on their most complicated issues in the morning. If the task can’t be completed, they return to it the next day.
I like to write in the morning, but if something is vexing me, I need to get that out of my head before I can be creative. Once my mind is clear, I can go on with my work, which is very different from problem solving.
When you can do both — problem solving and getting your work done — you will find yourself feeling much better about your life as a whole.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try making a list and planning your day around the things you need to do to get your life in order.
Once you get used to this process, you will find that it’s a motivator in itself, because by the end of the day you are feeling pretty good about yourself.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at email@example.com. His column appears Sundays and Tuesdays in the News-Press.