10 tips to combat information overwhelm

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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We live in a time when more information will be published this year than has ever been in history. No wonder we feel overwhelmed.

1. Stop and breathe. If you are feeling overwhelmed, sometimes the best strategy can just be to stop, take a deep breath and maybe go and do something different for 10 minutes. There is very little that can t wait for 10 minutes. Somehow just moving around can change your perspective and it always seems more doable then.

2. One step at a time: This year I climbed a hill with my son. I didn t enjoy it but I had promised him that I would do it. Of course he galloped on up the hill. I got up that hill by just focussing on the next step and the next step. When I came down, I came down at my pace: one step at a time. Narrow down what you have to do next and just do it. Do not think about the other work you have to do. Just do the next step. It s always doable.

3. Know when you work best: Are you a morning person or do you like to work long into the night Get up one hour earlier or stay up one hour later and do the work when it suits you.

4. Know your learning style: We all learn in different ways. Some people prefer visual, some auditory. Learn the way that allows you to learn in the ways that are easiest and most natural for you. Do not compare yourself to others.

5. Let some stuff go: If you do not have any spare time in your life at the moment, you are going to have to let something go. . What will you need to postpone/reschedule/put on the long finger and make your peace with that.

6. Ask for help: Ask for help and be very specific. It s more effective to ask your teenagers to hang clothes on the line rather than asking them to help around the house . Get clear about the help that you need the most. Is it with work or housework or other commitments Then ask for that.

7. Block off time and develop a routine. For example: explain to family & friends that you are doing a course and block off that time in your diary. Then commit to doing as much as you can within that hour. Write up a checklist of what you need to do and mark it complete for each day. After a while it will become a habit and be much easier to do.

8. Zapping the thought gremlins: One of the most overwhelming things we can deal with is our own thought process. This can be the most sabotaging process of all. This is the inner voice (usually of a teacher or parent) that pours scorn on our efforts, that loudly proclaims we are useless or else whinges that it s too much. One of the most powerful simple strategies (taken from Byron Katie s The Work) we can use against this voice is simply asking is it true Is it true that I can t cope with things I bet you have evidence of times when you dealt with major challenges and survived. So why listen to this stressful thought

9. Help others: One of the most powerful ways we can help ourselves is to help others. If you see someone else struggling on the course, reach out a helping hand to him or her. We all need help and we can all give help.

10. Self-care: Make sure that you assign time to take good care of yourself during this time. Eat well, take regular exercise and if you have a spiritual practice, keep it up.

You can follow Anne Walsh on Twitter www. twitter. com/annewalshcoach

Frank Bolger

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