Are You Overwhelmed?

Are you overwhelmed?

I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be completely sold out for a cause – burning the candle at both ends – trying to make things happen. When it just seems like there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it all.

I want to help. But first, take a big deep breath. And take a step back. When we try to work from a place of overwhelm we too often work ineffectively and inefficiently. So first, please, take a step back.

Good. Now we can talk about planning to move forward. Here are three steps you can take – right now – to begin reducing your sense of overwhelm.

  1. Write down a list of everything that needs to get done (yes, I know it might take three – or seven – pages).
  2. Now that you can scan a list that’s all in one place, start to identify things that might be able to be delegated. Perhaps there’s a project or two that would be great for an intern to sink her (or his) teeth into. Perhaps there are volunteers who are eager to help you. Start prioritizing the list. You can make up a scale – 1 for absolutely urgent needs to be done today. 5 for low priority / low importance.
  3. Select the three things you want to do next. We’re really not as good at multitasking as we think we are, so by working on just one thing at a time you can actually get more done faster.

Now that you’re not quite so overwhelmed, let’s talk about three more things you can do to get re-energized and refocused.

First, make sure you’re connecting with your cause and seeing all the great work that’s happening as a result of what you’re doing. Think about that little girl who’s taking home her first book. Or the family that will have a place to sleep tonight. Or the teen who’s getting reunited with his parents. It’s amazing stuff that wouldn’t happen without your help.

Also, are you taking time to celebrate your accomplishments? Too often in the nonprofit world we skip over our accomplishments. As soon as we reach one goal we immediately look at the next goal. Make sure that you’re building in time to celebrate. It doesn’t need to be fancy – or expensive. And better yet, start keeping track of everything good that’s happening. Maybe every Friday at lunch you can write in a journal about the positive things that happened that week. Think of all the great things you’ll have to review after a year (or five) of that! It’s too easy to focus on the negative. By having something – in writing – about all the great things that have happened, you’ll be able to counteract that negativity that can creep in.

And finally, are you taking care of yourself? Are you? When your body tells you to slow down are you paying attention? It’s so easy in the nonprofit world to try to work through sickness, work around the clock, and put rest on the back burner. You won’t do anyone any good if you burn yourself out. Trust me. Been there – done that – bought the t-shirt.

Wishing you fewer overwhelmed days!

Would you like some one-on-one coaching to help identify the next right steps to take? Drop me a line at I’d love to schedule a call with you to see if I can help.



Are You Overwhelmed? — 1 Comment