Susan’s list of overwhelm and drop bags.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed?

Looked at everything you need to do in the next 24 hours and felt like giving up?

Then this might sound familiar.

Here’s a partial list of the things I need to do before the start of Moab 240…in three days:

  • Wrap two projects and a lot of details up at my day job.

  • Finish the already-rushed packing of everything for a 200-mile race without forgetting anything race-ending

  • Pick up the van from the shop and pack all of the above in it

  • Drive 24 hours

  • Sleep up for the race

  • Get to race check in on time

  • Book flights for my next two trips

  • Write blog posts - I do NOT miss my deadline.

  • Post a 3-session coaching package on eBay for my 261Fearless fundraiser.

I can’t get it all done in that time. No way.

Unless I stay up all night, of course (which kills the “sleep up” item on the list).

My mind literally spins, panting, “Disaster! This is never going to work! DO something!” 

It will be right about the disaster part unless I stop panicking and look at what’s going on.

Because here’s what’s going on - nothing.

Overwhelm accomplishes nothing. It wastes the very thing it makes you feel you don’t have enough of - time and energy

When my mind spins in overwhelm, I can’t settle on the task at hand because I can’t decide what that is.

“I can’t wrap up a project at the day job because…isn’t there something else on the list I need to do right now? But which one? I can’t pack the van because I’m thinking I should book one of those flights instead, but which one?”

The moment I try to do one thing, I start thinking about doing another.

And while I bounce around like this, sure enough - nothing gets done.

The fix is absurdly simple. Start making decisions. One at a time.

"What’s really important?”

“What has to get done to make the important happen?”

“What can I let go?”

Once I make a decision, I move on and don’t second-guess it. Because as I learned from Martha Beck, there are no wrong decisions. Make it, and move on.

If the already-shaggy lawn doesn’t get mown for another week and a half, the world won’t end.

There, with one simple decision, I move from out-of-control, to in. 

Out of overwhelm to action.

Don’t get stuck in overwhelm.

Pack for the trip. Don’t mow the lawn. Put in the long run.

Make one decision after another and take your power back.

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Susan DonnellyBalance/Time