Surfing the Seas of Overwhelm: Three-Step Guide to Keep Your Sanity Afloat

Ever feel like there’s too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get it all accomplished? Here's a three-step guide to take you from drowning in overwhelm to surfing the waves of success.

2 min read

man surfing at the ocean during sunset
man surfing at the ocean during sunset

Everything was ready to go – except for Joe. He was the roadblock to the launch. He couldn’t complete the last few stages of the project as he was drowning in a sea of overwhelm.

As Joe’s colleagues grew increasingly frustrated with him, I was sent in with the life preserver.

Deconstructing Overwhelm

In our meeting, I pulled out a piece of paper and said, “Let’s write down all of your tasks and then tackle them together.” As Joe began to rattle off tasks, it was quickly apparent that nothing was insurmountable on his to-do list. In fact, Joe was surprised to see everything on paper and said it felt like far more stuff in his head. It was less tsunami and more tempest in a teacup. We prioritized and parceled out the tasks and then set deadlines.

A few weeks later, Joe had a successful product launch. We grabbed coffee soon thereafter. Despite a still heavy workload, Joe was more relaxed. When I asked him what changed, he said, “I spent so much time spinning in my head – thinking things were so much harder than they actually were - that I would get paralyzed and couldn’t find my way out. After we met, I got into the practice of writing stuff down because it is clear and easier to handle on paper, and I don’t worry about missing something. Then, I prioritize and tackle my list.”

Overwhelm Life Preserver

If you find yourself drowning in overwhelm, here are three quick tips to help:

  1. Break it Down: If you have a massive project, break it into manageable phases. Tidal waves are made up of drops of water.

  2. Make a List: Write down what you need to do in each phase. Then, prioritize the tasks and set deadlines.

  3. Focus on the Present: Focus on one task/phase at a time. This helps to keep the overwhelm at bay and keeps you on point.

When you feel a rogue wave of overwhelm, take a few deep breaths, divide, and conquer your way to success. Remember, it's not about having more time; it's about making the most of the time you have. By breaking down tasks, making lists, and focusing on the present, you can transform overwhelming chaos into manageable tasks. In the wise words of a little blue fish, “Just keep swimming,” and you'll ride the waves of success.

Ever feel like there’s too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get it all accomplished? While many of us call that “normal,” it’s actually a state of overwhelm. Margarita Tartakovsky describes it as “the feeling as if a 20-foot wave is crashing into you. Repeatedly.” If you’ve had the misfortune to be caught in the washing machine, Tartakovsky’s description nails the feeling. Fear not - there’s hope. We can help you navigate the choppy waters and turn your overwhelm into a beach vacation for your sanity.

Overcoming Overwhelm: A Success Story

Let me share a tale of triumph from one of my clients, “Joe,” who was drowning in overwhelm. Joe ran a successful small business preparing to launch a new product.

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