Overwhelmed by Your To Do List? 3 Tips for Breaking Free



Have you ever ironically rushed to do something that’s supposed to be relaxing–such as a spa appointment, vacation or to get to sleep? For many people this happens regularly.

What if I just rushed faster?

The trap of rushing faster usually creates more problems. I used think that if I just worked longer hours and rushed faster that the feeling of overwhelm would eventually subside. But I now notice that never really works over the long term, because the rate of change is just speeding up and rushing faster is an impossible expectation. There is a deeper, more powerful and longer lasting solution.

80% of the reason you feel overwhelmed is because of your mindset

I have discovered that regularly feeling overwhelmed is just a bad habit of mind and actually a cultural transfer for which I pay a big price. I would go so far as to say it’s like a vampire that siphons my energy. Did you know that a recent poll of entrepreneurs and people in high-pressure jobs had To Do lists for just 1 day that would realistically take an average of two weeks to complete? Many university research studies have proven that un-doable To Do lists make many people less productive because the overwhelm causes inertia.

Overwhelm can negatively affect many areas of life

Do you remember the book the Way of the Peaceful Warrior? Peaceful warriors tend to make a lot less mistakes than frantic ones. Plus your health gets affected. People who feel overwhelmed are more likely catch a cold. Relationships suffer. If you dwell on how overwhelmed you feel it can make you less fun to be with on a date. Overwhelm actually makes you think less effectively and less creatively. In fact feeling overwhelmed is directly linked to digestive problems, moodiness ADHD and sleep problems. Feeling overwhelmed triggers the primitive fight or flight brain which can lead you to do or say things you might regret later. Over the long term the overwhelmed mindset has been linked to divorce, depression, suicide, cancer, dementia and financial problems.

So why do people keep getting stuck in overwhelm then?

Many people are unconsciously programmed for feeling overwhelmed. The human mind tends to imprint negative experiences far more often than positive ones. Neuroscientists say this is the primitive brain response. The primitive brain is consciously scanning for danger. If you burn your hand in the fire your brain will imprint that deeply so you won’t do it again. If you see a great sunset the brain doesn’t see this as necessary for your survival so won’t imprint it so deeply. This is kind of a system flaw when you think about it because it means you remember far more negative experiences than positive ones, giving you the overall impression that life is dangerous and unpleasant.

What underlying beliefs usually make you feel overwhelmed?

If you believe that you can’t change the things you actually CAN change or you react against the things you actually CAN’T change (or you can’t tell the difference between the two) that is definitely a recipe for overwhelm. And, of course this is just the opposite of a well known saying. When you’re calm and centered about your To Do list you have better health, enhanced relationships, feel more confident, trust in the future more, have more vitality, think better and make wiser decisions. There is a big domino effect here.

What you focus on grows

If you really think about it — for every one thing that’s not going well chances are 1000 things ARE going well. And, what you focus on grows so you might as well ruminate on one of the thousand things going right and instantly have a better day.