People are like computers, we only have so much information our storage (brains) can hold. Many people are walking around with their RAM bursting at the seams. Trying to hold on to too much “stuff” in our minds causes a level of stress that makes us feel overwhelmed, confused and paralyzed. Is there anything we can do to overcome “OVERLOAD”? Yes, 3 things to be exact!
GET IT OFF YOUR MIND
If there are things “on your mind” then your mind isn’t clear! It’s that simple. If your mind isn’t clear, then you’re going to feel stressed out. Clear minds produce clear emotions; cluttered minds cause confused emotions. Instead, try this exercise that David Allen, author of the bestselling book, Getting Things Done, suggests to participants in his seminars:
- Write down the project or situation that is most on your mind at the moment. He asks, “What most ‘bugs you’, distracts you, or interests you, or in some other way consumes a large part of your conscious attention?” Write that down. Got it? Good!
- Now Write down the very next physical action required to move the situation forward. He asks, “If you had nothing else to do in your life but get closure on this, where would you go right now, and what visible action would you take? Would you pick up a phone and make a call? Go to your computer and write an e-mail? Sit down with pen and paper and brainstorm about it? Talk face-to-face with your spouse, your secretary, your attorney, or your boss? Buy nails at the hardware store? What? Got the answer to that? Good.”
This is the most helpful exercise I’ve found for helping me get my mind clear in a way that energizes me to want to do something about them other than just worry:)
GET IT OFF YOUR CHEST
Yesterday I had a frustrating conversation with an acquaintance. It bothered me emotionally, messing with my mood. I decided to call my wife, who is my best friend, and talk to her about it. I’m so glad I did. I told her what happened and how it had made me feel. She listened. Responded with love and concern. I asked her to pray for me. And when we ended the call, I felt better; lighter, like my emotional load had been lifted. I learned that WHEN I GET IT OFF MY CHEST I DECOMPRESS! Jesus’ brother, James, once said, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” The effect that “GETTING IT OFF MY CHEST” had on me was to heal my pain and soothe my discomfort. Talk to someone. Let them know you’re hurting, you’re stressed or you’re feeling pressure. Reach out and talk to someone!
GET IT OFF YOUR PLATE
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed because we truly are trying to accomplish too much in too short a time. We over-estimate how much we can get done in a day or a week. So, we shift into overdrive to meet pressing deadlines, quotas and important goals. But as I said earlier, there’s only so much one plate can hold! What I’m learning as a leader is this: I MUST DELEGATE TO GET IT OFF MY PLATE.
Find someone who will be willing to help you get the job done. Make the ask! As Ed Young, Jr. says, “Leaders must master THE TASK OF THE ASK.” Make an “ASK” of yourself:) Just humble yourself, swallow your pride, and receive the gracious help of good people God has placed in your life.
NOW GET OFF YOUR “ASK” AND GET SOME HELP!