Coping when it all gets too much
You have deadlines. You have pressure at home. The world is on the brink of disaster. Everything is piling the pressure on you. You need to perform, but your creative urge just won’t rise to the occasion. You feel overwhelmed. I’ve been feeling a little like this recently, with all of the above coming into play at some point. But to be honest they are always part of our life. There aren’t any days when these and other distractions aren’t fighting for a bit of our creative energy.
Some days, however, they seem closer than others and we need to know how to deal with them. If we don’t, we’ll end up missing those deadlines, neglecting the home and becoming paranoid at everything beyond the front door. And that is before we realise that the blog hasn’t been updated for a while.
The biggest danger is that we become overwhelmed. Everything gangs up on us and we collapse under the pressure. What moments before was a pile of things to do and think about, is now a mountain that is beyond our climbing skills. There are three ways to deal with this:
Throw everything in the bin
For some people, this is the best option. Anything that is on your mind, simply ditch it, emails, tweets, RSS feeds, lists, and so on. If anything that you had on your mind was important it will surface again. Important deadlines, emails that need responding to, will all resurface. Then when they do, you can put them into your system and deal with them.
Throw everything on a list
For those who aren’t as brave (or as those who prefer this solution would say, reckless), there is the list. Instead of picking up everything and throwing it away, you can throw it on a list. Out of your head, and away from distracting your creativity, is what you want to achieve. Adding everything to a list does exactly that, and you won’t have to worry about losing anything. Once everything is on the list, you can go through it at your own pace.
Throw yourself away
Instead of getting rid of all the stuff, why not get rid of yourself. Or more accurately, remove yourself for a while to recharge. The things will still be there when you get back, but if you can give yourself permission to take a break, you’ll be in a better state to deal with them.
All of the above can deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed. They all take different approaches but they all work for the same reason. When we feel overwhelmed we feel powerless and helpless. These feelings leave us unable to do anything. The above all give us back our power. They are ways of us taking control of the situation and dealing with it, and that is what is needed.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed and it begins to affect your creative output, decide what is going to be thrown.