Too much to do

Not enough time

Feeling frantic/overwhelmed

Feeling I’m not doing anything properly

How many of these comments above resonate with you?

It’s a dilemma that we are hearing more often, and it seems, more intensely.

Many people have described to us how the dilemma of having too much to do and not enough time in which to do it well, can end up feeling very stuck, and entangled in thoughts of, “This is not how I want to live my life”.

What are the solutions?

Of course, there are the practical solutions. Be smart and intentional about schedules, both work and life – plan ahead, prioritise, track and budget your time so you know where it’s going. Focus on one thing at a time, delegate, ask for help, say no, and so on.

Then there is the important task of making sure what we are doing with our time is aligned with our life purpose and meaning, what is important and satisfying to us and how we want to contribute to the world from our life and work.

Along the way though, while we are figuring out our big picture, and getting clear about our life purpose and what this might mean for our time allocations and how to be smart about those, there is another strategy that can help.

To stay slow.

What?! It sounds crazy, doesn’t it. And probably feels impossible. The urge to speed up when we are flat out and feeling overwhelmed is a strong one, and can feel like the correct one. Slowing down or creating a pause can feel impossible in the busyness of our everyday lives.

It’s not though.

Staying slow and pausing is the antidote to our endless reactivity – where our thinking, emotions and actions race.

Slowing down and pausing is the antidote to feeling overwhelmed.  It is creating space to consider and to respond. Pause to notice:

  • How am I physically and what do I need? (Water, fresh air, to breathe?)
  • How am I emotionally and what do I need? (Gratitude, reassurance, humour?)
  • How do I want to connect with others? (Calmly and with compassion, not irritability.)

Howdo we slow down and pause? The best way is to experiment and find what works best for you. Try these everyday strategies:

  • Set a calendar alert or a timer on your phone – pay attention to it as your signal to pause.
  • Give yourself a physical pause if you need to – go to a different room, leave the building for 5 minutes, sit down if you are standing, stand if you are sitting.
  • Breathe and slow your breathing down for a few minutes.
  • Drink a glass of water slowly.

You may also want to talk with your team/friends/family about your plan to practise slow. Can you support one another with reminders or ideas that work?