Overwhelmed

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Sometimes I take on a little too much work. Sometimes last minute a little too much work is thrown at me.

The past few weeks this has happened a lot. My time at two of my jobs came to an end so I scrambled to pick up some freelance work to help pay the bills. After I was satisfied with what I had, a few opportunities too good to turn down fell into my lap.

I didn’t think I’d get it all done and have time to sleep. But, as usual, everything got in before deadline, I slept a decent amount and still had time leftover to start looking for more work.

When there’s a lot of work to do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and panic about getting it done. Sometimes more time is spent worrying about finishing the workload than actually doing it.

Here are my tips of things to remember when you’re feeling overwhelmed to just get it done.

1. Breath

You hear that a lot. Common advice. But it’s easy to forget. When you start feeling like it’s too much, breath in slow and deep through your nose, then breath out slow through your mouth until your lungs feel empty. Repeat.

2. Remember what you can do

Instead of thinking it’s not possible to get the work done, think about all the past times you’ve had an agenda bursting with “to-dos” but still got everything done. If you’re like me, that happens often while missing crucial deadlines never does. Remember that and it’ll help you relax.

3. Skip the caffeine

I love coffee. I love the kick in the morning and I love the taste. Sitting down to a cup of coffee in my kitchen before my roommates get up is one of my favourite things to do. But on days when the work is piling up and I’m already stressed out, I switch to lavender tea or a smoothie. The only thing that will get your heart racing and hands shaking more than too much work is too much caffeine.

4. Don’t stop

Usually the advice is to take breaks. And while in a normal day that’s a good idea, when you’ve got multiple hard deadlines coming up, watching TV may not be the best use of time. Instead, take breaks from work to do productive things. Make a healthy dinner. Pick up groceries. Go on a GoodWill run. When I take a break to do something I enjoy, I spend the whole time feeling guilty about not working and I lose my momentum. When I get some errands done, I feel refreshed from stepping back for an hour.

5. Next time, work ahead

There are so many times when I have notice of a deadline far in advance but just don’t make the time to get it done early. If there’s something that’s not a huge time commitment, work on it on a day off a couple weeks early. Chip away at larger assignments so there’s less to do later. The less you’re doing last minute, the less you’ll have to worry about having to turn down unexpected work.

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