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  • Charlotte Cox

When overwhelm takes over, try this 10 min technique


Overwhelm is in the air, whether it’s trying to get things completed before year end, the constant ‘on-call’ when working from home or the Christmas to-do lists brewing, I have heard from clients and friends that it’s all just getting a bit much.


I have shared my technique for coping with overwhelm and prioritising what to get done, with a few people and have had great feedback so I thought I would share more widely with my connections.


When you feel you do not know which way is up and you feel like you are going around in circles. STOP, take 10 minutes out with a cuppa, and get away from your screen. Grab a piece of paper and some pens (preferably a variety of colours) and a set of coloured post-its (its fine in if you do not have different coloured ones).


STEP 1: BRAIN DUMP – Hug your cuppa and brain dump all the things that are buzzing around your head, everything that needs to get done, for work, for home, things that you have meaning to do, calls you have been meaning to make, get it all down – you can create a mind map if you fancy or scribble randomly or create a neat long list, it doesn’t matter, the important thing is to get it out of your head and down on paper.


STEP 2: CATEGORISE – Look over your paper of ‘to do’s’ and decide what broad categories these projects/tasks could fall into; you want no more than 2, maximum 5 categories. As an example, your categories could be: Planning, Marketing, Admin, Personal. Keep it simple, do not overthink it.


STEP 3: POST-ITS – Re-write your tasks on different coloured post-its according to the categories you have chosen. (If you only have yellow ones then draw a coloured square in the corner according to the different categories).


STEP 4: PRIORITISE – Read the post-its in each category and order them in order of urgency/importance, placing them on a wall or table, with the most urgent/important being at the top and least at the bottom.


STEP 5: REVIEW – what could be delegated? What could be ditched? Could you request support to help you out with a task, what can wait? I am sure some of the tasks will drop away and you will decide they were not that important after all.


STEP 6: NAME YOUR TOP 5 – Looking at your prioritised rows of categorised tasks, what the top 5 that you are going to focus on. Pull these out from the rest and over the next day or so, whenever you start something new or get distracted by an email or post, ask yourself – Does this help me achieve my Top 5 things to do?


That’s it! This simple 10 minute process will help you take stock of what’s going on at the moment, review what’s important and help you get everything that’s buzzing around in your head down on paper.


Speaking to those I have shared this technique with, they have said how much lighter they feel, that they have subconsciously got on with their day without overthinking what needs to be done and are quietly ticking things off their list.


I hope this helps.


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