Have you ever looked up the dictionary definition of “overwhelm”?
It’s pretty intense, actually.
- bury or drown beneath a huge mass
- defeat completely
- give too much of a thing to someone
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then perhaps you feel as though you’ve been given too much.
In fact, you’ve been given so much that you’re to the point of feeling buried beneath a huge mass of stuff…
- urgent issues
- undone tasks
- incoming requests of your time and energy
As a result, you feel overpowered and defeated.
When you’re overwhelmed with too many priorities, it can feel impossible to find the time you need to get everything done.
Even worse is when everything is important.
How can you possibly put aside 99% of your responsibilities for a few hours in order to focus on just one thing?
How to Make Sense of Things When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
This is an exercise we do in Focus Academy.
(Reminder: our Fall cohort is enrolling now!)
Make a list or just mentally take inventory of the following:
- What urgent issues do you have right now?
- What areas of responsibility are you managing?
- What projects are you working on?
- What things do you feel you should be doing but you’re not?
Now, take that list and put each item into the proper box from this matrix:
- Box 1: Things you enjoy that ONLY YOU can do
- Box 2: Things you enjoy that ANYBODY could do
- Box 3: Things you dislike that ANYBODY could do
- Box 4: Things you dislike that ONLY YOU can do
Now, looking at those boxes, how does it make you feel?
For reference, here’s what my matrix looks like (for the sake of brevity I focused only on high-level areas of responsibility and the tasks that fall under those domains):
Looking back at your own matrix, consider this:
- The items in boxes 1 and 4 are things which you must choose to take personal ownership of and prioritize into your life.
- What things are in Box 2? It’s awesome that these are things that you love, but make sure they’re not keeping you from the things in Box 1.
- What things are in Box 3? These need to go! Delegate, automate, ask your boss if you can be relieved of those duties, etc.
I love looking at the things in my life that ONLY I can do, and nobody else can do for me.
- Only I can be a husband to my wife.
- Only I can be a father to my kids.
- Only I can take care of my health by eating well and staying active.
- Only I can lead my business in the direction I want it to go.
- Only I can take responsibility of my personal development through reading, learning, and living a focused life.
When you’re feeling buried under a mass of so much stuff, it can feel as if you’re responsible for everything in the whole world.
But it can be liberating when you step back and get clarity about the things that ONLY YOU can do.
Now, how do you actually free yourself up to focus more on those things ONLY YOU can do?
And how do you make the most of that focus time?
That’s exactly what Focus Academy helps you accomplish!
For example, look at one of our alums, Jenette McEntire…
Jenette spent years struggling to focus on her “Box 1” stuff — the things she loves that ONLY she can do.
Instead of making progress on the numerous book ideas she had swirling around her head, she was constantly allowing the tyranny of the urgent to sidetrack her attention.
As she put it:
“I was at the beck and call of the urgent. My days were total servitude to these things that came flying at me all day long.”
That all changed when she enrolled in Focus Academy.
Within a few months of completing Academy, she had…
- Finished writing her first children’s book
- Outlined the first five chapters of a second book idea
- Paid off $13,000 in debt (her family’s finances were another key area where she wanted to apply focus)
It’s not like Jenette didn’t have a lot on her plate already. She has a career. She and her husband were going through the grueling process of adopting children. As I mentioned, they were working through debt.
If you can relate, you need to check out the short conversation I had with Jenette after she completed Focus Academy.
She details exactly what made the experience more effective than the dozens of productivity apps, systems, and paraphernalia she’d tried over the years.
(Watch the full video here.)
While you’re listening in, you can also explore our full agenda for the upcoming Fall cohort of Focus Academy.
Just like the cohort Jenette went through, it’s going to be a 4-week online experience where I take a select group of focus-minded professionals through a repeatable framework for making meaningful progress in the areas of life that matter most.
Enrollment closes on Monday, October 2, so now is the time to sign up and save your spot.