How To Beat Overwhelm
And Actually Get Started
Overwhelm! It affects us all. Want to learn how to beat overwhelm and actually get started well read on to read about a recent encounter with my boy and some top tips for how to beat overwhelm.
Last week, a few days before Easter, I set my boy a challenge:
Build an egg decorating machine out of Lego.
He was off school and it was a rainy day so it was the perfect time to get all the Lego out and flex those creative muscles. He got out the boxes, pulled out a few bits and pieces but then sat doing nothing. I didn’t say anything, just watched. Maybe 10 minutes later, he still hadn’t done anything but instead picked up some manga and started reading that.
I knew something was up, so I started asking questions.
This is how the conversation went down:
Me: Hey, I thought you were building a an egg decorating machine
Ebi-kun: I am
Me: Really? Looks like you are reading.
Ebi-kun: I’m taking a break.
Me: hmmm, have you actually started yet?
Ebi-kun: No, but…. I’m not really in the mood for it.
Me: Well today is the last chance to do it if you want to make one, you seemed really excited about the idea early, so what’s going on?
Ebi-kun: I’m stuck, I don’t where to start!
And there it was! The reason for not starting.
It wasn’t that he didn’t want to do it, it wasn’t that he was bored, it wasn’t that he wasn’t capable. The problem was that he was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start.
This is a really common problem, not only for kids but for us adults too, I have worked with so many people that know their stuff but the sheer size of the job ahead overwhelms them which results in them doing nothing.
Overwhelm can present itself in many ways, kids of course don’t understand for the most part what it is that they are experiencing, which means it will often manifest itself as a tantrum or meltdown – ever had a child kick off because you asked them to tidy the living room which is resembling Toys R Us warehouse after and tornado?
Chances are that they just don’t know where to start and are overwhelmed by the situation.
Or have you sat down to start a project or work on your business and instead of getting productive, you spend 3 hours scrolling through Facebook and watching Buzzfeed videos?
It sucks right? Then you mentally beat yourself up for being lazy!
How To Get Out Of Overwhelm
So You Can Make A Start
Acknowledge that you are feeling overwhelmed, knowing that is the problem is a big step in the right direction. Take a few deep breathes and reassure yourself that you have got this!
Me: You have built lots of amazing things out of Lego before, if you had a plan would you be able to build the egg decorating machine?
Do a braindump, get all that mess out of your head and onto paper. A lot of that noise doesn’t need to be in your head and is just making you fuzzy. Dump out anything that is related to your project, what questions are coming up? What are you confused about? Where do you need help?
Me: OK, think of all the different ways the machine might work – some of them won’t, that’s OK. The egg has to move round right? What do you have that would make that happen?
Ebi-kun: Hmmm, I’ve got these two motors and some gears, oh and the tires from the truck, I wonder if…
And he’s off!
Decide what needs to be done first. Also look at what can be outsourced and what can be bumped off the list altogether.
Often to get us out of paralysis and to beat overwhelm, we just need to get started. Finding the starting point is crucial. The next trick is not to concern yourself with everything else that is going on. Just concentrate on the first step. With Ebi-kun, once he had an idea of how to turn the egg he was up and running. It was that first tiny block that was stopping him from inventing his next great creation.
If you are totally stuck, ask for help, there is no shame in it and sometimes the answer is simple, it is just that we didn’t know it! Yes, there may be other things on the list that you don’t know how to do or where to start but for now, concentrate on the first job in hand. Just start.
Even if you only make a 1% improvement each day, over the course of a month, that is a lot. 1% is a whole lot better than nothing!
I expect after all that excitement you will want to see what the egg decorating machine looked like? Lucky for you we did a FB Livestream, which has had over 1.6k view, Ebi-kun was so excited! We also took it to an Easter party at a friends place which went down well. The design turned out to be quite simple but it took a fair bit of testing to get it to work well.
Over to you. Have you noticed that your kids get overwhelmed? Can you use the above steps to help them and what about yourself? Is there something you have been procrastinating on because you don’t know where to start? Let me know in the comments, I’m happy to help out! Let’s help each other beat overwhelm, and help our kids beat it too.
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