Are you feeling overwhelmed by everything you've got to do? Are you becoming anxious and stressed? Is all that stress causing you to be less productive which in turn is making you feel even more useless?
One thing that tends to happen to people who have big goals and want to achieve many things in life as well as keep everyone happy (which is impossible by the way - we can only focus on pleasing ALLAH) is that they become overwhelmed by it all and I've been there myself so many times. So I'm going to share with you some steps to get yourself out of the situation.
1) REMEMBER THAT LIFE WILL CARRY ON AND THE EARTH WILL KEEP ROTATING NO MATTER WHAT IT IS THAT NEEDS DOING.
I always ask myself, if I died in one hour would I be stressed about this situation or these tasks and more often then not, the answer is 'No' of course, unless it's my salah.
Once you've asked this question and acknowledged to yourself that what you were stressing about really isn't that important in the bigger scheme of things you can move on to step 2.
2) TAKE SOME TIME OUT AND CREATE SOME MENTAL AND PHYSICAL DISTANCE BETWEEN YOURSELF AND THE STRESSORS KNOWING THAT EVERYTHING WILL STILL BE THERE WHEN YOU COME BACK.
This all depends on you and what it is that stressing you but a few things I can recommend are:
- going outside for a walk (fresh air and nature can really calm your brain)
- do wudu, sit in a quiet space and read some Quran with the meaning or alternatively listen to a soothing recitation.
- just sit quietly in a relaxing place and breathe purposefully
- go for some relaxing treatment or treat yourself (hot bath with essential oils, massage, facial, whatever works for you)
Once your mind is more relaxed go to step 3.
3) COME BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD AND REASSESS
The important thing here is that you are not coming back to do your tasks. You are coming back to REASSESS.
More often than not, overwhelm is caused by over-committing to tasks or requests, whether your own or others and also by not prioritising. Over time your to do list becomes so long, that it is actually physically impossible to do, in the time you have; resulting in STRESS and OVERWHELM.
So what you have to do in step 3 is look at your commitments and divide them into what is most important and what is less important (when doing this make sure you categorise according to the importance each task holds for you and not for others).
Next ask yourself which tasks can I totally remove from my schedule or at least put on hold for some time. More often than not you can remove most of the less important stuff.
I suggest you have a maximum of 3 main goals/objectives that you work on at any given time.
Now you can move to step 4
4) THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP.
Make a schedule for your week on an empty canvas, timetable, online diary, paper or whatever it is that you want to use and schedule in the following with times.
Number 1 - schedule in rest, self-care and family time.
Number 2 - schedule in unavoidable daily tasks like washing in the morning, eating, etc (we
often forget to include these when planning)
Number 3 - schedule in your most important tasks which should be in line with your 3 top goals (with times)
Make sure you leave buffer zones of 15-30 minutes between tasks.
Number 4 - Scrap everything else on your to do list that doesn't fit, into the bin or delegate it to someone else.
Number 5 - communicate your schedule to any important persons that need to know so they can respect your time and know that you are unavailable at certain times.
Use your schedule as a rough guide and adjust appropriately
5) AT THE START OF EACH DAY DECIDE WHAT YOUR 3 MOST IMPORTANT TASKS ARE FOR THE DAY and focus on getting those done and pat yourself on the back when you do them instead of creating a ten point list which is half made up of stuff you don't even need to do.
Next time you try to add on a goal/task of your own or if someone else tries to add it to your day, assess it against your priorities and time schedule and say NO to yourself and others if necessary.