Where EVERYONE is a maker

Episode 31: Small Ways to Manage Overwhelm (Bonus Episode)

Ep 31 Cover Art text reads small ways to manage overwhelm

No matter what time of year it is, overwhelm and anxiety seem to get the best of us. What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you didn’t have to carry all that anxiety around all the time, burning out your central nervous system and wreaking havoc all over your body?

Here are some small ways to manage that overwhelm:

  • Choose only 3 priorities for the day
  • Stack tasks
  • Get rest! It’s required

Is that really it? Yes, it really is that simple to start managing your tasks so they don’t overwhelm you.

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[00:00] Paulette: Buen día y welcome to the Maker Muse Podcast, the place where child free Spanglish speaking, mujeres fuertes are inspired to find their confidence, su confianza, through creativity. I’m Paulette Erato, the Maker Muse

[00:18] Hey mi amigue! ¡Feliz año nuevo! Welcome back. Although this is still a bonus episode between seasons, it is the first one for 2023, so let’s celebrate it. Uhhhh so you remember when I had a Facebook group and I would do a weekly live training for them? Well, the group is gone, but some of the older content is still salient and applicable to this podcast.

[00:41] The problem and part of the reason I ultimately closed down the group is that it wasn’t a child-free audience. Now, you listener, you may not be child free or even a Latine and esos fine. That is fine. Pero, a lot of my audience is and I am too, you know this!

[00:55] Anyway, all of that to say is that because the original Facebook audience wasn’t child free, I did use some examples with kids in this episode. But you can switch it out for a spouse, partner, and sometimes even an animal. All right, let’s get into it.

[01:10] A lot of people have been talking about overwhelm and procrastination, and they kind of go hand in hand. So I’m gonna, um, talk about how overwhelm is something you can manage by prioritizing things and overwhelm can be caused by a lot of things.

[01:25] I had one coach that said, you know, it’s not overwhelm, it’s confusion. You’re just confused. That is true in some instances, sometimes it’s anxiety, because things feel a lot bigger than they really are. And anxiety is something you need to pay attention to because if you put your body through too much of that, you burn yourself out.

[01:43] You burn out your central nervous system, and that’s, that’s a real physical problem. So it’s not just in your head. And that’s something that we can manage in small ways. And if you need more help with that, then definitely speak to, um, a doctor, a professional for that. Let’s talk about stopping overwhelm.

[01:59] Stop over planning. I want you to stop trying to mash as many things to get done in one day as possible. That’s one way to give yourself a lot of anxiety. That’s a really easy way to overwhelm yourself. Instead, I want you to take the approach that if you have a to-do list, okay, great. You can have a to-do list.

[02:18] Recognize that your to-do list can be never ending. It probably is because as you cross things off today, you’re gonna add things tomorrow. So instead of that, and you know this works with time blocking techniques. It works with the Pomodoro method. What I want you to do is on the daily, or whenever your time blocks are set up, I want you to prioritize fewer things.

[02:40] At most three a day. Now, if you have a set time, you have to go pick up your kids or you have a doctor appointment, that can be one of the three priorities for the day. So everything else moves around it. It’s not the top three things in your day, it’s what can you make the most progress on in this time that you have today, around all the other requirements of your time.

[03:05] Again, picking up the kids, running to the vet, running to the doctor, going to the gym. These are all things that you have to mash your time around, right? So don’t try to fill as much as possible and then not get anything done, and then feel bad about it. If you have at max three priorities around which you’re going to organize your time today, each of those is probably a multi-step project, right?

[03:27] Like if I say I have to cook dinner at four, well, what is dinner? Dinner is a protein, a carb, some vegetables, and all of those things have to be chopped. They have to be baked. There’s an order of operations and the dishes have to get done and all of that is going to take, plus it has to be eaten, right, or at least stored away for leftovers tomorrow and the next day.

[03:48] And if you meal plan, you probably get this. You spend a whole day meal planning, that’s your priority for that afternoon or that day. The rest of the week you don’t have to worry about, oh no, what am I making for dinner tonight? And that works to varying degrees too. So every priority is gonna have a multi-step process.

[04:06] So start writing those out. And once you have a, a really good idea, a roadmap of where your time is going, you just have to concentrate on that. The to-do list lives on. The to-do list can, you know, even live on the fridge or on your desk where you see it. But today, today’s focus is this, is this block of priorities.

[04:28] And what gets done is what gets done. There’s no score at the end of the day. There’s no award at the end of the day for hitting all three or not. I don’t want you to judge yourself over whether or not it was completed. What got done, got done. Because you also have to respect your need for rest. You are not a machine.

[04:50] You are a human being. And human beings require rest. They require rest every night or day. If you are on the night shift. And multiple breaks in between your day. This is why the Pomodoro method is so popular because you have a focused amount of time to work and then you take a break. It’s mandated. You must take a break. And if you’re an employee of a, you know of a firm, you are also legally entitled to breaks during your work there.

[05:20] So you better take them because your brain needs a break. Your body needs a break. You need to short circuit what’s going on over here, especially as you’re getting tired, and recharge. So respect that that has to be included in your day. Today I’m supposed to deadlift, but I also had really terrible insomnia.

[05:42] So at some point today I have to prioritize a rest, and my body has this riv very tell me if, if this happens to you, when you get too, too tired. All of a sudden you start getting nauseous and you feel like you can pass out at any moment. If I don’t allow myself rest, that happens. It usually happens around 1:30 in the afternoon.

[06:01] So just after I’ve eaten, so like my blood sugar is up and I, I, maybe it’s a food coma, I don’t know. But I will probably need to, to sleep at one o’clock this afternoon. And a good 45 minutes to an hour is all I’ll need to make up what my body’s lacking.

[06:17] But I can’t shirk that. I can’t not give it that because I, I wasn’t able to sleep at night. So I’ve gotta get sleep where I can. And in my schedule today, I can, I can work around that one o’clock.

[06:29] Alright, so now you’ve prioritized, you’ve mapped out what you have to do. Look at what you can delegate. If there are still things on your to-do list that you can’t do while you’re prioritizing these other things, delegate it out.

[06:44] Roommate, spouse, kid, coworker, whomever, subordinates. You don’t have to do everything. If laundry is on the to-do list, now’s the time for maybe the kids to start learning that. Maybe it’s time for the spouse to to pick up a load here. And even if you need some help with some of your top priorities, ask. It doesn’t just have to be what’s left over on the to-do list.

[07:06] Maybe you need help making dinner. Maybe you need help washing the dishes. All of these little steps on your map, do you have to be the one to do them all? Be honest. Does it have to be done by you? Yes maybe you have to be the one pick up your kids. You can’t ask your next, next door neighbor to do that, but what else could you maybe hand off?

[07:28] Okay. The next step is to stack some of these priorities or some of these steps for your priorities. An example I’ve used is if I really wanna watch this one video, that is gonna help my professional development, but I also need to exercise, I can go get on a treadmill while I’m watching the video. Or for me, it’s usually podcasts.

[07:49] Now that I’m a podcaster, I listen to a lot of podcasts. I listen to them while I work out. I have to listen to something. And the music at the gym is not my favorite. So I usually have my own hype playlist, but sometimes a po uh, another podcast gets me through it. And I listen to them a little faster cuz people talk really slow.

[08:05] So stack your to-dos. If you have to walk the dog and get exercise, taking your dog for a walk is exercise. Or taking them to the dog park while you do a little bit of work on your phone or your tablet is another way to stack those things together. I’m not talking about multitasking and trying to do two projects at once.

[08:26] I’m talking about being able to make two things happen. Like maybe you do that load of laundry while you’re picking up your kids. You know, two things are happening simultaneously, but you don’t have to be on top of it. You know, the dog is exercising, you’re getting some work done. Don’t try to both cook dinner and you know, write your report at the same time.

[08:50] That’s what I mean. Your focus isn’t on either one in that case. You see what I’m saying? Let’s go back to rest. You shouldn’t feel guilty about resting. Resting is an absolute need. Food is an absolute need. The air you breathe is an absolute requirement. These are three things you cannot compromise, okay? If you wanna be a fully functioning well, well-adjusted adult, you cannot compromise your need for air, right?

[09:14] You’re, you’re gonna lose some brain cells. You can’t starve yourself. You’re going to damage your body. And you have to rest. Cause if you go without rest, again, you damage your body. So these three are non-negotiables, right? Yet so often we feel guilty about one of those and which one is it? Resting. Because there’s a societal norm that we believe that we’ve been fed, that we have to question, around how rest and productivity work.

[09:41] You are not guilty for resting. You cannot be productive 100% of the day, all day, every day. I already said, you need rest. It’s a requirement. So do not feel guilty for surrendering to rest. You need it just like you need the air you breathe. So you have to start decoupling the idea that resting is laziness and that not being productive is laziness.

[10:07] Those two things, they’re not married, they need to be divorced. That is a bad relationship. Because you need rest and you aren’t lazy for surrendering to it. You aren’t. You need it. If you really feel that you can’t get rest right now because something has to get done, go back and see what can be handed off. What can be done tomorrow? What can be tomorrow’s priority? And take your rest.

[10:30] Take it in smaller chunks if you need it. Incremental rest is better than none at all. But waiting until you are too tired to do anything else is not the path you wanna end up on. You have limits and you just have to respect that. You can always add more to-dos to your to-do list if you wanna feel productive. Just keep adding things to the to-do list and prioritize them in the future.

[10:53] You will mark things off your to-do list. You can always add more. If you feel like your to-do list is coming to an end, you can always add more. I promise you there’s always gonna be more things you can think of that you need to get done. Rest, delegate, stack. All right, does that make sense? I hope that made sense.

[11:10] I’m gonna leave you without mis amigues. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, and that’s a burrito.

[11:17] Wanna talk about this week’s episode? Feel free to DM me on Instagram. My info is always in the show notes. And if you’re looking to be a guest in the future for the Maker Muse Podcast, check out the guest form on my website at themakermuse.co. Yes, themakermuse.co. It’s also linked in the show notes.

[11:35] And hey, muchisimas gracias for listening to another episode of the Maker Muse podcast. Are you subscribed? If not now would be a great time to do that. New episodes come out every Tuesday. I’m on Apple, on Spotify, wherever you listen. And then can I ask you a favor?

[11:51] Could you please tell all of your friends and family about it? ¿Sus amigues, su familia? Because if you love it, they probably will too. And I’d really appreciate it if you could rate and review it wherever you’re listening right now. ¡Hasta la proxima!

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