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Challenge: Stretched Too Thin

5 Things I Did to Alleviate Overwhelm and Take Control of My Time

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As a parent working from home, with the entire family present, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and stay overwhelmed, especially, if it seems there’s not enough time in the day to complete simple tasks and essential assignments, and the well-intended plans you do make, never get completed. Yeah, we all get it, we’re in a global pandemic, but that doesn’t take away the feeling of being stretched too thin.

I had to take a deep dive into my busy life and make some necessary and immediate adjustments to lessen the feeling of overwhelm and fortify the sense of empowerment. These five things helped me significantly.

  1. Bought a New Planner – This may seem like a trivial move, but I realized the brand new, pretty, planner that I recently purchased, was rarely getting used. Why? Because it wasn’t the right planner for me. I bought the planner based on multiple positive reviews and recommendations, but never really researched the right planner for my life. I realized after many uses and non-uses, that it was way too small for me. I needed a much bigger planner that would suit my needs. In my new organizer I’m able to write down more tasks, utilize various pockets for key papers, plus organize my life better. It was a simple change but helped drastically.
  2. Eliminated Obvious Clutter – When you’re trying to maintain a home life with your work life, it’s so easy for clutter to pile up and keep piling. I realized the disorder that was in obvious places was causing more overwhelm than necessary. Clutter in my daily workspace began to pile up, clutter near the kids’ virtual workspace began to pile up. Clutter in the kitchen began to pile up. Of course, no one is expecting a perfectly clean home, especially with family nearby 24/7, but the obvious clutter was beginning to engulf my mind, every time I looked at what needed to be done. When I cleaned those primary areas, I not only felt a sense of accomplishment, but felt more in control and felt I had more clarity to get things done.
  3. Got My Texts Under Control – I am on a lot of text chains: multiple mom chains, a prayer chain, a cousin chain, a sister chain, a mom and sister chain, a sister and cousin chain, plus more. Every day, throughout the day, a text chain will go off with multiple replies and multiple sounds. Without fail, I read and reply to the texts and it takes me off of my focused task. Even when I tell myself I won’t look at my phone, when I hear a text go off, again and again, I am so tempted to reply in the moment that it rattles my concentration. I had to start leaving my phone in another room during the day when I’m up against a deadline or working on an important project. That has worked wonders. The phone is still close enough to hear it ringing, but far enough to avoid the constant “ding” of a text.
  4. Created More Boundaries with My Kids – With the entire family home it’s easy to have access to everyone at the drop of a hat. Like clockwork, it seemed like a kid was coming to me in between their breaks and throwing me off my schedule. The issue wasn’t my kids coming to me. The problem was me thinking I always had to leave my door open thus getting easily distracted and saying yes to every request. Admittedly, focus is not my forte, so I had to get strategic with my time. I was already putting signs on the door if I was recording a podcast, interviewing a guest for my blog, or on a phone call, but that was the only time I was closing my door. To feel more in control of my time, I began closing my door when I was involved in a time-sensitive project. I also calendared non-important requests during their breaks. I voluntarily became the IT guru, go-to playmate, and all-around problem solver, whenever a request was made, but that just led to distraction.
  5. Kept My Goals Up to Date – Another admission. Goal setting was not always a strength of mine, and honestly still isn’t, but I work at it because I realize how important it is. With the help of my brilliantly organized husband, I see the value in it, and I’ve been consistently maintaining my goals for several years now. Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and long-term goal setting are now a part of my world. During those times that I feel the most overwhelmed, and off focus, are the times that I’m not keeping my goals up to date, nor planning my future goals. I had to get to a point that I was looking at my goals daily to remind me to stay on the right track to keep my life in order.

There are countless other ways that can assist in alleviating the relentless overwhelm battle, but those five seemed to make a meaningful impact for me and saved me significant time, helped me stay focus and gave me a sense of accomplishment.

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