If you’re struggling with overwhelm and don’t know what to do next, listen up!
Barbara Savona shares the 5-step Brain Drain Exercise that will bring some sanity back into your life. You’ll learn how to get out of your own way and get more done.
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Going Into Overwhelm
The problem with being overwhelmed is you have so many things buzzing round in your mind, you’re often immobilized and don’t know what to do next.
And because you’re scared you’re going to forget something or drop the ball, you tend to replay the same worries over and over again like an old play-list. But this doesn’t get you anywhere. You need to hit pause before you get frazzled.
And the way to do this is to create some white space inside your mind by doing Barbara’s Brain Drain Exercise.
Start by getting a large sheet of paper and writing down every single thing that keeps you up at night. Don’t just focus on work; include family, home, social and personal commitments as well. Include big projects and small tasks. Just write it all down.
Take as long as you need the first time round to make sure you include everything that’s on your mind. You might want to do this on a Sunday night, so you can hit the ground running on Monday morning.
Look at your list with a very critical eye and start eliminating things.
First of all, cross off everything you have no control over.
And secondly, remove all the things you don’t want to do, but feel guilty about. Quite simply, if you’re not passionate about something, put a line through it.
Be ruthless. Don’t allow superfluous stuff to stay on your list.
For everything that’s left, identify when things need to be done and break them down into four sub-lists. That is, things that have to be done this week, this month, this quarter or this year.
Next, determine how long each task will take.
The important thing here is to work in reverse. So, if something has to be completed by Friday lunchtime, and will typically take a couple of hours, set aside two hours to meet the deadline. Then plan to work on it (say) on Thursday afternoon to allow for anything that might go wrong or crop up at the last minute.
Finally, schedule the task to make it real. And don’t just schedule the due date, (in this example, Friday lunchtime), schedule the time it’s going to take you to complete the task on Thursday afternoon.
Benefits of the Brain Drain Exercise
By going through this process every week, you’ll have a lean, mean list of manageable tasks that will stop you from going into overwhelm.
Just remember, only include things you’re passionate about or that are necessary for your overall happiness and success.
And if at any point, you start to feel overwhelm creeping back in, repeat the whole process. The more often you go through these five steps, the more quickly you’ll be able to identify your priorities.