Overcoming that overwhelmed feeling

Lately, many business people seem to be looking for the secret to having more energy, being more relaxed, and being able to get more accomplished.

This topic of conversation about how overwhelmed everyone is at work and in their private lives seems to be part of a recurring theme. Most folks say their major problem is that they have way too much to do and too little time to accomplish all the things on their plate. For many, no matter how they try to juggle the projects in a work day, the hours fly by and they leave work feeling like they haven’t been able to finish what they set out to do. Sound familiar?

Because we all want to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks, experts say we need to create work environments and skills that will help us to get things done and keep us from “burning out.” In his book, Getting Things Done, David Allen says, “A basic truism I have discovered over 20 years of coaching and training is that most of the stress people experience comes from inappropriately managed commitments they make or accept.”

Allen suggests that, “Managing commitments well requires the implementation of some basic activities and behaviors: First of all, if it’s on your mind, your mind isn’t clear. Anything you consider unfinished in any way must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind, or what I call a collection bucket, that you know you’ll come back to regularly and sort through.” Just this one basic idea works for many. Getting the details documented and out of mind can bring quick relief. 

Allen continues, “Second, you must clarify exactly what your commitment is and decide what you have to do, if anything, to make progress toward fulfilling it. Third, once you’ve decided on all the actions you need to take, you must keep reminders of them organized in a system you review regularly.”



The pace of doing business is speeding up. With today’s technology, customers are coming to expect instant gratification. Businesses have to have exceptional responsiveness to these expectations, which adds to the feeling of being overwhelmed.

A couple business friends have begun using the “do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it” rule that Allen says will help empty the “inbox.” They confirm the success they are having with this method with the free time they have scored for themselves. It all goes back to the old adage, “Make a list and check it twice.”

I recently read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz in which the one of the most important agreements one can make with oneself is “Do your best!” Now, when I feel overwhelmed and like time is getting away, I’m just going to bank on doing my best!

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