If you’re feeling overwhelmed them maybe it’s time to quit something. Seriously for the NEVER QUIT brigade, this post is probably not going to be for you but I really felt I needed to share this message.
At the beginning of November I had a to do list the length of the great wall of China. Okay I may be exaggerating, slightly.
And as we got into November I stumbled across a fantastic 30 Day Blogging Challenge which I really wanted to do. It’s brilliant by the way and I’m learning so much about making my blog better.
Within 2 days of the challenge though I decided I wanted to move my website over to WordPress ~ Not a 5 minute job by the way. But you know what, it was all so worth.
One of my big goals for November was to write 50,000 words as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I knew when I signed up it was a big commitment for me. I was going from no fiction writing at all to aiming for 1500 -2000 words a day.
By the middle of the month I was already way behind on my word count and getting stressed. Overload had kicked in and something needed to give.
Do you ever feel like that? Like you’ve just taken on too much?
I had all the usual thoughts going on “I have to complete it, I signed up to it and I’m not going to fail…”
None of us like to fail and I’m sure that you, like me would never start something if you didn’t intend completing it. But that feeling of overwhelm can really mess things up for you if you don’t sort it out.
At the end of the day things were not going well and something had to give.
I don’t know what happens with you when you start feeling overwhelmed but I get grumpy and stressed. My son my dog, next doors cat all got to feel, or rather hear the overwhelm I’d inflicted on myself. I was getting more an more short tempered by the day and I can tell you it’s never a great experience for anyone around me.
Put the brakes on and decide what’s important
When those feelings of overwhelm set in, it’s so important to put the brakes on long enough to get clear about what your priorities are.
Try this exercise whenever you feel overwhelmed and have too much going on in your life.
- Write down everything that you’re trying to do.
- Now put a 1 next to everything that is essential ~ So for me these are things like get my son to school on time and collect him on time, eat breakfast, lunch and evening meal, get to sleep by 10.45 (for me to be productive this is something I always prioritise), buy food, fill the car up with petrol, show up on time and be 100% prepared for client calls and replying to my members in my online member packages… These are the things I absolutely must get done.
- Next put a 2 next to all of the things that are really important but not essential ~ So for me these are things that move my business forward and need doing consistently. A lot of my business comes from the things I do online, so things like keeping my social media presence active is important, making sure I send out messages to my mailing list is important, connecting with my online course members via the private groups is important..
- Next grab your pen and cross out anything that you’re really not interested in and isn’t something you have to do. For example: I’m really not interested in clearing away after meals but I do have to do it. But Taking an hour long webinar that I’m really only half interested in needs to get crossed off the list.
- Finally highlight everything that’s left on your list. The chances are that you’ll be left with a few things that you really want to do. What I want you to do now is compare each thing left over and ask yourself which you want to do most.
Here’s what mine looked like once I’d got rid of all the non essentials
- Complete the 30 day blogging challenge
- Complete the 50,000 words first draft novel for NaNoWriMo
- Change my website over to WordPress
All of these three things in there own way would take up a big amount of my time during the month.
I looked at each one in turn. I was really excited about the blogging challenge. I could already see how useful this was going to be for me and I knew it would help me improve my blog and help me help more people. I also recognized that already I was getting more interest in the blog but I was working form a platform I wasn’t happy with. I knew 100% if I was going to continue with the blog, I wanted to change the website over to WordPress.
The 50,000 words had started to feel a bit of a chore. I love fiction writing and I absolutely do want to get back into writing this way more but 50,000 words in 30 days was huge for me. I was taking the computer to bed and typing away most nights. I’d then feel guilty if I missed a night. So this was my quit area. It was the things that wasn’t sitting well with me. Yes I wanted to do it, yes I was loving seeing the story coming to life but seriously did I need to be stressing myself out and forgoing my relax time in the evening ( which by the way is something I consider highly important)?
Nope. So at the end of November I’ve written around 12,000 words instead of the 50,000 words. Am I disappointed? Not one bit. In fact I’m incredibly proud of myself. I’ve written more in this month than I have in years, I’ve completely changed my website and overcome some techie challenges and I’m on day 8 now of the blogging challenge (I took a break whilst I set the new website up).
I could have carried on aiming for 50,000 words but I’d have suffered, my home life would have suffered, my sleep would have suffered and ultimately my business would have suffered.
So in conclusion I say “Yes, It’s good to quit sometimes or at least slow things down.”
I think the key thing is to know yourself and how you work at your best. I know that if I’m getting switch of time to relax in the evening and get a good night sleep, I’m going to be happier, feel more positive, be more productive and be a much nicer person to be around.
What about you? Do you thrive on having to push yourself to the limits or are you like me, perform at your best when there’s some down time in your life too?
Love and happiness.