I find that at the root of feeling overwhelmed are actually one or more of these three common mistakes:
Mistake 1: Too much stuff.
Ever feel like you are drowning in a pile of stuff – ungraded papers, or handouts from the last eight workshops you attended, paperwork that needs to be completed, or a stack of books you’ve been meaning to read. We all have too much stuff and it feeds our sense of overwhelm. The answer? Take an hour this week to purge your stuff. Notice, I didn’t say “organize” your stuff. It doesn’t make sense to organize stuff you don’t really need in the first place. Instead, set aside one hour this week to go through your desk and do a serious purge. (Check out this article for step-by-step instructions on how to do it). I just purged my desk and that act alone has almost doubled the amount of time that I spend writing each day. It really works.
Mistake 2: Not enough Rest.
Did you know that most of us are sleep-deprived? It’s true. The average adult is getting less than six hours of sleep per night. That means that if you’re like most people, you wake up tired, depend on caffeine to get you through the day, are exhausted by 6 pm. You may feel lethargic, like you’re in a constant mental fog, or irritable, stressed, and tired most of the time. It’s amazing what a little sleep will do. For the next week, try going to bed at least 7.5 hours before you need to wake up. That means that if you need to be up by 5:30 am, you plan to be in bed by 10:00 pm the night before. Try it for a week and see how much better you feel. I’m doing it this week and after the first night alone, I woke up the next morning feeling much less overwhelmed and I was MUCH more productive that day. It’s amazing!
Mistake 3: Trying to do it all.
If you’re like me, you’ve got big goals for yourself and your students. You may also be under a lot of pressure to reach those goals. And, midway through the year, things may not be looking too good. The answer isn’t to do more. The answer is actually to do less. That’s right. Less. Now’s the time to really focus in on the things that are most important and that give you the most leverage. You can’t do it all. None of us can. If you want big results, you’ve got to hone in on the things that will make the biggest difference and do them.