2nd June 2021

Avoid Overwhelm – Five Simple Tips

Avoid Overwhelm

After a very quiet – and strange – year, our calendars are filling once again. There is utter joy in being able to once more go about our lives, but feelings of overwhelm can also creep up. This is not only related to a particular moment in time, as in my profession,  many of my clients experience overwhelm by the time they get in touch with me. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up my best tips to avoid overwhelm in your daily lives.

A little planning goes a long way

Are you always rushing from place to place? Are the things that demand your attention and energy as important or meaningful as they once were? Perhaps you are doing things out of habit but they’re simply not as fulfilling as they used to be.

One of the best ways to feel in control, manage your own expectations and lessen the overwhelm is to take a step back to review where your time is going. Schedule your time based on your priorities and goals, think about what would bring some calm to your calendar and make appropriate adjustments.

Dedicate a little time each week to organising and prioritising your schedule, optimising the logistics as much as possible, so that you are clear on what’s coming up and can make a few preparations in advance. You don’t have to plan every moment of every day and I recommend you deliberately incorporate unplanned time – as resting time is highly beneficial for your wellbeing. Read more on all the types of rest we need in order to thrive here.

Do a little prep each evening

Over time and with accumulating experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that the day starts the night before. How calm you are or how much you anticipate or dread the next day will affect the quality of your sleep and will eventually either help or hinder you in achieving your goals.

I like to spend a bit of time in the evening setting myself up for a calm morning by tackling things like getting the lunch bags ready and mentally planning the following day’s clothing so that no-one’s scrambling around before getting out of the door to school or work in the morning.

Checking my schedule for the next day is a proactive way to focus on my priorities. It can be as little as two minutes of quietly contemplating appointments and mentally running through what I need to do the next day. This simple task minimises decision fatigue during the day and helps me experience a better flow as I am not blindsided or surprised by missed appointments or deadlines.

Avoid overwhelm: outsource or delegate

I’ve seen it many times in my profession and in running my own business: we sometimes hang on to loathsome tasks out of a sense of duty or out of fear we might end up paying too much for something we should be doing ourselves – and that highly contributes to the feeling of overwhelm.

When your days are filled with dread over things you must do, but really don’t want to, whether it is a house clearing, complicated admin, archiving or streamlining parts of your house or office – why not let someone who thrives on these tasks take the worry away? I believe this is a great opportunity to allow people with skills and passion to fill in that gap – and it ends up paying off, as someone with the right skills will take less time to sort out things that weigh heavily on your mind right now.

Whether it’s a partner, other members of the family, a friend or a professional, think about what help would be of most benefit to you and how you could share the workload:

– Perhaps having a cleaner would mean you come home to a clean house and don’t have to spend weekends catching up on housework
– Signing up to a grocery delivery service means far fewer hours spent at the supermarket (and probably fewer impulse buys too)
– If you are desperate to do a clear-out but struggle to have the time or motivation, enlisting a professional organiser like me to give you either hands-on or virtual help will focus your mind and ensure that it simply gets done!

Declutter in bite-sized chunks

I never tire of saying it, the way forward with tidying and decluttering is little and often. Once the job becomes too big, it will contribute to the feeling of general overwhelm – plus the bigger the job, the more likely it is you will postpone it. But all the tasks we postpone end up weighing heavily on our minds, cluttering our thoughts and lives and occupying bandwidth that should be dedicated to important things – like family, life and work.

Keep a box for items that must leave your home to donate, recycle or sell. Pick up one thing and ask yourself ‘where does this belong?’. If it doesn’t belong in your home then pop it in your donation box, recycling bin, shredder or the bin. If it’s staying, put it where it belongs.

Repeat this throughout your home in little pockets of time. For example, you could declutter your hair products while you wait for the bath to run, do a quick review and edit of a kitchen drawer while the kettle is boiling or sift through mail while you’re on hold on the phone.

This simple approach is a system for gently working through your home, little by little. When the donation box is full, bag things up and drop them off at clothing banks and charity shops when you are next heading their way.

Adjust or turn off notifications

Do you struggle to focus because of constant interruptions caused by distracting notifications on your phone, tablet, and PC? It is a well-known fact that notifications hijack our focus and shift our priorities. If you feel like your time is constantly fragmented by attention-grabbing notifications then invest a little time to adjust or turn off notifications that don’t require immediate attention. This can be a worthwhile exercise to help improve concentration and productivity.

The setup you choose will of course depend on personal preference and priorities, but here are a couple of options to consider:

– Head to the Notifications area of your settings and choose the notification style of your choice for each app. I like to use badge icons but have removed all banners and push notifications. The only sound notifications I have are phone calls and texts, and I don’t have any vibrating notifications or anything that swishes onto my screen.
– If you are in Facebook groups, you can individually adjust the notifications for each group. I have most of these set to Off but visit the groups on a regular basis to browse recent posts.
– When things get a bit too chatty on WhatsApp, swipe left to mute conversations for a few hours so that you are not bombarded with notifications. You can then simply revisit the chat at your convenience. Read more on digital declutter here.

Finally, are you ready to shift from overwhelmed to organised? This group programme I am starting next week on the 7 June might be for you!

Do you want to streamline and simplify your belongings but don’t know where to start? Are you regularly trying to get organised but feel like you’re going round in circles? Perhaps you simply lack time, energy or direction but know you need to tackle your unworn clothes, redundant gadgets, old books and overflowing toiletries. Help is at hand!

Over four virtual sessions, I will guide you through a gentle but methodical approach for editing and enjoying the items in the key areas of your home. We’ll look at practical steps for letting go of items that no longer serve you, identify key questions to ask yourself when making decluttering decisions and explore simple storage solutions that don’t cost the earth. Book here today.

Better Organised House Clearing Services

I’m Kate, a productivity coach & professional organiser based in Glasgow. I work remotely or in-person to help busy decision-makers declutter their space and manage their time so that they can enjoy better balance and productivity. For a no-obligation chat about how I can help, please get in touch at kate@betterorganised.uk or use the box below to subscribe to the Better Organised monthly newsletter which is full of resources, inspiration – and occasional freebies!


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