Between trying to pursue a meaningful career, maintaining personal relationships, contributing to your community, caring for your body, mind, and spirit, and having some fun every now and then, overwhelm feels like a given. But it doesn’t have to be.
Overwhelm feeds itself. When you're trying to juggle all the things and feel like you’re failing at most of them, the frustration, shame, and exhaustion of trying to do it all only wears you down further. When you get that underwater feeling, it’s time to hit pause and make plan to reset. I’ve got one for you.
How to Juggle All the Things
1 | Reconnect to your long-term vision
When you’re in the weeds, all you can see is weeds. One reason you’re struggling is because you’ve lost sight of the big picture.
Give yourself half an hour to daydream. Remember the life you wanted to build? The career you wanted to have? The kind of family and community you wanted to have? Oh, yeah...
Journal, make a vision board, write lists, or talk with a good friend about what it is you're working towards. Put a post-it note or some kind of visual reminder where you’ll see it every day as a reminder of what all the busyness is for. When you dial back into that sense of purpose, you’ll be calmer, more focused, and can make decisions more easily.
2 | Eliminate some things
When you’re doing too many things, an obvious solution is to stop doing some of the things.
I know it may feel like you CAN’T, but I bet if you really took at look at everything on your plate, you’d find some things you could happily—and with little consequence—stop doing.
3 | Think of all the things as part of a whole
This is my favorite trick: When you have a lot of things going on, it can really help to think of them as parts of a whole. Then instead of doing 17 unrelated things, you’re doing 17 things that are all contributing to a common goal.
What’s your big goal, and how do all of these things contribute? What does everything you’re doing have in common? Are you working towards freedom? Towards self-expression? Towards courage?
Whatever it is, name it and it will help you feel more focused.
4 | Pick your top 3 areas to give attention to
Once you’ve whittled down your commitments, it’s time to prioritize them. The easiest way to do this is to pick a top 3 for each week.
So maybe this week the top 3 areas that will get your attention are family, health, and work. Maybe you will always pick those 3, or sometimes life will require that you mix it up and you find you have a week of work, family, community engagement.
You can still make time for other areas of your life like fun, travel, and dating, but it helps to know what your focus is for the week.
5 | Don’t add new things
Now that you’ve gone to all the trouble of reconnecting to your long-term vision, eliminating things, seeing things as a whole, and setting priorities, don’t gum it by adding more things into the mix.
Declare a month of No New Things. That means making no new commitments for at LEAST a month until you feel like things are settling down. No new lunch dates, projects, nuthin'.
If you have trouble saying no to people, tell them that you’re having a No New Things month. They will probably me more curious than mad. And remember all the things your “no” will allow you to say yes to.
Life can get overwhelming, but you probably have more power to change that than you think.