Overwhelmed or Overloaded?

I hate the feeling of being overwhelmed.  It tends to hit me about 2 or 3 in the morning.  I wake and can’t fall back to sleep.  I go through the motions of little bits of meditation, of focusing on breathing…  but all for nothing.  I am not going back to sleep.  My inner battle is not going to give me peace.  I get increasingly frustrated with myself in a vicious self-reinforcing spiral of emotional turmoil.  Where is all the efforts I have put into finding myself, accepting myself here now at 3 in the morning when I really need it?  What is the point of practicing techniques of mental discipline, of searching for peace of mind if these tools fail me when I really need them?

At this point, I get up, go downstairs and get to work on something.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the work that remains to be done?  Overwhelmed because too many things have become urgent all at once?

Overwhelm comes from over-thinking.

If I am in the moment, 100% focussed on the task in hand, I have no time to over-think – and I feel no overwhelm.  When I am churning and multi-tasking, then my wheels begin to spin out of control and I over-think.  I spend more time switching between tasks than I do focussing my attention at completing a task.

But sometimes the simple fact is that there is too much on my plate.  I am not just feeling overwhelmed, I have also allowed too many responsibilities to fill my time.  I need to say “No” to some of these tasks.

4 comments

  1. Hi Connor,

    what I try to do in those cases is (if at home) going out for an hour running to think out what I’ll do about it, (if at the office) switch off outlook, get a coffee and set very short time scales (“i’ll start by trying to understand this in the following 30 mins, then…”)… but then, it never happens to me at 2-3am :-S

    1. Going running is the best cure for me. Thanks for the ideas ;-)

  2. Good post, Conor. When I feel like that, believe it or not, I take a bit of time and watch the news.

    I watch and am reminded fairly quickly that my problems are so incredibly small when compared to the problems of most of the people in this world. Having to finish couple of reports by the end of the week is nothing compared to wondering whether or not you will be able to feed your children by the end of the week. Perspective is the great balancer.

    Having said that, being able to say “no” to some things is a key skill to acquire. Have a restful evening! ;–)

    John

    1. I am working on that “no” skill… Especially “no” to something that I accidentally committed to.

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