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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of the Overwhelm

How we can find the off button

I read an interview with someone recently who had grown up half of her life in the US and half overseas. She made the comment that she’s come to realize Americans have a hard time finding their off button. It resonated with me. We all have that mental list of both things to be done, and things we wish we were doing more of. For me, that list is a composite of personal and professional. I find myself in a state I call “the overwhelm” all too often and I am committed to seeing clear of it for myself and for those around me.

Recently, I started working with a coach to see if that would help me sift through the overwhelm and prioritize and realize some of my to-do’s. What have I learned?

Create Accountability: My coach summarizes what I’ve agreed to tackle in a given time period. Knowing I have another session coming up has created some accountability and momentum. I have been and likely always will be someone driven by time constraints and deadlines. I like the pressure of a deadline and get focused with one. What’s your chosen approach – incremental work towards a goal or a dash down the field to the score?

Take Accountability in Bite-Sized Pieces: I have been counseled against giant bites and have found agreeing to write one thought piece or even to outline it works better than saying I’ll do three. Committing to one half hour time block per week focusing on learning about external trends in my field is easier for me than having one amorphous to-do called “Learn about External Trends”.

Remember to Celebrate the Wins: After I shared with my coach that I had gotten through my first year successfully in my new role at Deloitte, she asked “What are you planning to do to celebrate?” Often we are in such a mad dash, we forget to stop and savor the moment. It’s almost like we’ve forgotten that the point was reaching the goal in the first place! Do you take a minute to congratulate yourself after a job well done? Are you celebrating those around you as well?

I’m excited to continue my fight against “the overwhelm”. We all deserve time for the “pursuit of happiness” versus the alternative! 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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