Organize + Energize: 7 Ways to Reduce the Feeling of Being Overwhelmed
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert
You’re disorganized and your life is chaotic. You find yourself stuck because you can’t get past the feelings of being overwhelmed and you just don’t know how to move forward. Do you crave structure and organization but don’t know where to begin?
This feeling of overwhelm can be avoided if you take a step back, breathe, break the process down, and put a plan into motion.
Here are 7 things to do when you’re overwhelmed:
Stop. Don’t move. When people are overwhelmed they tend to waste energy. They get stuck and get busy but not productive. Take a minute to step away from the situation and breathe. Before you start bouncing around your home or office, take a minute to empty your mind. Plan your next move and waste less energy.
Empty your mind. Sit for a few minutes and just empty your mind. Jot down everything you have to do and everything that’s running through your mind. Don’t worry about the order of things you need to do, just write. Once your thoughts are on paper, then you can break them down and organize them. You may find you have a sense of relief after you do this. Now that everything is on paper, it’s not as bad as you thought. You can now get a solid plan of what you need to accomplish and use this to-do list as a guide.
Just say no. It’s ok to say no. If you have the option to say no, do it. Sometimes you have to say “no” at the time so you can focus on more important things that are going on in your life.
Don’t procrastinate. If you have time to tackle your task now, do it. You may get busy and as your deadline approaches, you may not have the time to spend on this. Block off some time when you work your best and just do it.
Break it down. Break the process down into pieces. Once you break the process down, it’s not going to be as overwhelming as you thought. People tend to look at the big picture and think that it’s just too much and they shut down and nothing gets done or they wait until the last minute. Map out your project and tackle in small increments.
Step away. Go for a walk, exercise, get some fresh air or go shopping. Stepping away from the situation will clear your mind and help you focus. When you go back to your project you’ll find that you’re more productive and have a clearer vision of what you need to accomplish.
Relax. This feeling of overwhelm will pass. It’s not the end of the world. If you put a plan into motion of how you’re going to attack your project, the end result will be amazing. You will look back and say, “Wow, that wasn’t so bad.”
Following all of the tips above will help you get a handle on your situation. You may find you were wasting energy and creating more work for yourself in the past. Sometimes situations aren’t as bad as they seem, but we tend to make more out of a situation because we dive head first without a plan or process.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, approach it differently and then observe how you feel after you’ve completed your project.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.