How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Take Action Today

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are 5 questions to get out of overwhelm, clarify what you can control, and take action toward your goals.

P.S. Prefer to listen? Check out Episode 34 of the Bright Life Podcast: How to Bust Overwhelm.

4 Questions to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

1. What’s One Thing I Can Do Today to Move Forward?

I once heard someone talk about aiming to do ONE thing each day to move herself myself forward in life, work, relationships, or health. Sometimes we get caught up in that master to-do list and feel overwhelmed by twenty tasks, assuming only one thing won’t make a difference.

But consider the one percent rule: If you’re in an airplane and it’s changing course one percent every hour, you’re not going to feel the difference in the air, but your destination becomes another city quite quickly. One little percent compounds.

2. What’s One Thing That’ll Change Other Things?

One of my mentors asked me once, “What is the ONE thing you could fix that would fix the most other things?” For example, I recently participated in Dry January as a great way to help me sleep better, feel healthier, and be more in alignment with all the other healthy things I do every day. At some point, it seemed like there was always a networking event, so rather than go out to yet another wine and dine with friends, I spent the month working on projects or focused on true rest and relaxation. For me, it was one decision that would impact many other areas of my life for the better. 

So, your turn! What is the one thing you could do today that’s going to impact the most other things? What’s the one domino you can push that’s going to naturally push over all the other dominoes?

In business, perhaps it’s hiring an assistant so you’re not having to move yourself forward. Have your assistant take over roles such as posting on social media, responding to emails, engaging with your audience, or one of the million other things that a business requires. You can free up all that time, energy, and mental space, just from that one action.

3. What Am I Secretly Afraid of?

Remember that procrastination is often fear dressed as hesitation. If you find yourself refraining from doing something—even if it’s not that big or time consuming—ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”

For example, I have been trying to get more comfortable posting about my business on Facebook. It’s been on my to-do list for a long time, and in theory it would only take me five minutes, so I knew there had to be some fear because I was always holding back on this small task. My solution was to either rework whatever I was going to post so that I felt more confident about it OR to look at what’s going on and see if it was a fear story taking up space in my life.

It can help to have affirmations, talk to others in a similar position and see how they get around it, or journal and see if you can rework the situation to feel less fear or let the fear go.

4. What is the Most Important Thing I Can Do First?

One of the other things that a mentor once told me about preventing feelings of overwhelm is to do the most important thing in the day first. It’s easy to have a list of tasks and to want to save the big behemoth that you’re dreading for the end of the day. However, if you start with that big task when your energy is highest, all of a sudden all those other little things are way easier to do. 

Picture it this way: you have a bucket that gets filled each day by your tasks, or rocks. If you fill the bucket with all the tiny pebbles and try to top it with the big boulders, there’s no way they’ll fit because they’re sitting on top of all the other little rocks and there’s nowhere for them to go. If you reverse that and instead put the big boulders in first, it’s very easy to pour all the little pebbles in and everything fits because they slide right in between the cracks. Do the most important things first and the rest of your day will be a breeze.

  • What’s one thing I can do today that will move me forward?
  • What’s one thing I can do that will change multiple other things?
  • What am I secretly afraid of?
  • What is the most important thing I can do first?

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, try asking yourself one of the questions above to gain clarity, focus on the one thing you can control, and take action. Remember, even one percent makes a difference. Even one percent adds up over time to change a life.

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P.S. Want more on this topic? Check out DETACHING: The Magic of Surrender or EMBODYING: Who Is Next-Level You? What Is She Like?