Get Out of the Weeds: Strategies for Overcoming Overwhelm in Your Daily Life

Have you ever spent hours planning the perfect schedule to forget you double-booked yourself or missed an event? Getting lost in the weeds is easy when you care for work, the house, the kids, the dog, your spouse, your social life, and your health. Overwhelm can quickly take its toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Below are seven strategies for overcoming overwhelm in your daily life, empowering you to reclaim a sense of balance, clarity, and peace amidst the chaos.

1. Prioritize Your Tasks

Start by identifying your most important tasks and priorities for the day. Focus on completing high-priority tasks first, then move on to less urgent or essential items. By prioritizing your tasks, you can allocate your time and energy more effectively, reducing overwhelm.

Example

Sarah is a working mother who writes a daily list of tasks to complete, noting any items to prioritize. By the end of the day, she couldn’t complete every item but felt a sense of accomplishment from crossing off the most critical tasks.

2. Break Tasks into Manageable Steps

Launching a website, writing a book, or attending your first event as a speaker may feel overwhelming. However, breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps will set a productive pace. This method also reveals your skill gaps and places deadlines to keep yourself on track.

Example

Miriam, a small business owner, wants to launch a new service for her clients. She identified the critical stages of the launch and got to work designing the product, deciding the price, and developing marketing materials to promote it. The service successfully earned her five new clients in the first week after its launch.

3. Learn to Say No

Top performers or those who provide top-notch services likely field many support requests or are regularly assigned to new projects. When this happens, determine if these requests or responsibilities are within the scope of your role, values, and bandwidth. Don’t feel guilty for declining a new project if it means you won’t compromise your well-being. However, if the request is within the scope of your job responsibilities, ensure you communicate with your supervisor about bandwidth or skill limitations.

Example

Jasmine is a project manager who often fields requests from other departments to assist with setting up formulas or workbook formatting in Excel. These requests are separate from her job duties and, while Jasmine doesn’t mind answering occasional questions, she spent a considerable time working on it. After speaking with her manager, they determined that company-wide Excel training was necessary and created a plan, allowing Jasmine to spend time on projects that supported her skill growth. 

4. Delegate Tasks When Possible

Delegation is a critical skill to balance your schedule and free up time to dedicate to projects that support your growth or skill set. If you can hand off any simple, time-consuming tasks, you will be focusing on value-added activities that will generate a larger impact in the long run. 

Example

Maria spends hours designing her business’ social media posts. She wants to ensure they communicate the right messaging and branding to increase her audience. Yet, the more she works on social media, the less time she has to dedicate to developing new products. Maria hires an intern who brings fresh ideas to her marketing strategy and frees up time to solve larger business issues.

5. Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care

Incorporate mindfulness practices and self-care activities into your daily routine to reduce stress and promote well-being. Take breaks to practice deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness exercises. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as spending time outdoors, reading a book, or practicing yoga.

Example

Kinseley starts her day with a short meditation to center herself and set a positive tone for the day ahead. She also makes time for regular walks during lunchtime, which gives her a much-needed mental break from the office.

6. Set Realistic Expectations

Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given day or timeframe. Avoid setting overly ambitious goals or expecting perfection in everything you do. Allow yourself grace and flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances and prioritize what truly matters.

Example

Lily wants to throw a party for her three-year-old’s birthday with cake, themed decorations, and goody bags. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations to plan, prep, and host it herself, she considers what she can do realistically in the timeframe. Lily enlists the help of family and friends to execute what she can’t. Instead of striving for perfection, she focuses on doing her best and embracing imperfection as part of the fun.

7. Seek Support and Connection

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support and connection when overwhelmed. Rely on friends, family members, or trusted colleagues for encouragement, advice, and assistance. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through can provide valuable perspective and emotional support.

Example

Esme joins a support group for female business owners that meets for lunch monthly. Through regular meetings, she finds solutions to her dwindling client base and builds friendships with other women facing similar challenges.

Remember that it’s okay to ask for help, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care as you strive to create a balanced, meaningful, and fulfilling life. With a proactive approach and a supportive network, you can rise above overwhelm and cultivate a sense of peace and purpose in your daily life.

If you want to continue growing as a leader, you can do it with the support of industry-leading women globally. No matter what field, the International Association of Women brings professionals together to share their tips on the trade and empower each other to reach new heights. Join our community today and find mentors, business resources, weekly webinars, networking events, and more!

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