A few years ago my life was so hectic and so out of control in my mind that I could only do thirty minutes at a time. I would chunk my days into half-hours and would only really allow myself to look at, think about and focus on the next thirty minutes. I was so “busy” and had so many demands on my time and attention, many of which, I thought at the time, were forced on me by others. It was the best coping mechanism that I could muster in that space of a month or so. I looked at it as if it was not a great solution but one that worked. Otherwise, overwhelm would have taken an even greater toll.
I have learned so much since that time, thankfully. I did realize back then that I had tools to help deal with overwhelm but I didn’t realize I had the means to prevent it ever even occurring. I was on the right track with deciding to think about things in a certain way, in that case, only thirty minutes at a time, but there is more to it. I now know that no one else can impact my schedule without my allowing it. You may say well your boss can and your clients can and your spouse and kids can. No, they can’t. Read what I said there again. Without me allowing it, no one else can. I didn’t say that there wouldn’t be ramifications of me not allowing certain things but in the end I allow or disallow everything. There will be consequences. I have found that the ratio of pleasant to unpleasant side effects is 50:1 or greater and growing all the time, as I get better at choosing what gets my attention.
It is the same with all overwhelm, including and especially the thoughts that bring it about. I can choose to allow that or not. I can choose to approach everything in a relaxed and confident manner. I can choose to eliminate anything that doesn’t serve my goals and purpose. I can choose to table certain items. I can choose to do things differently than I have in the past. I can choose to question the necessity for meetings and projects. I can choose to remain present and really examine what is important and what is simply busy work or someone else’s agenda. You can choose this, too. You simply have to decide and apply.