There is nothing abnormal about feeling overwhelmed – which might be comforting to some.  Feeling like you can’t breathe from time to time is actually just a product of this fast-paced society, flooded with social media.  Plain and simple, there is a lot more coming “at” you than did perhaps 10 years ago and it can feel like you are being tossed around in a swirling tornado. Not a fun feeling for sure.

And if you are an entrepreneur, perhaps also raising a family and managing a household, more and more is added to your proverbial plate and also to your perception of what needs to get done and how.

We become overwhelmed because we instinctively take on too much in our mind and don’t put enough time into sorting it out or understanding the overwhelm more clearly.

For me, finding ways to combat those feelings of overwhelm are integral to me being productive, and feeling as though I am living my life – not just surviving through it.

Here are some tips I suggest to simplify “stuff” and overcome overwhelm.

1) Find a home for your thoughts. One of the major tenets of being organized is that everything must have a home. You should know why you have a certain item, what is for and where is will go before your bring it into your home. The “where it will go” is imperative to keeping your area tidy and neat.  Perhaps equally important is that when you know where something goes you can find it again – easily, without stress and frustration, both of which contribute to feeling overwhelmed.

The same strategy goes for your thoughts and to dos.  They need a home and I suggest it be in the form of a list. Some people think a list only serves to cause more overwhelm.  I am positive that a list will do you good.  There are definitely some efficient ways to make a list work for you but at the least it is important to know that by putting down on paper (in one place, please!) what is on your mind you reduce that feeling of overwhelm.

A list is a two-fold vacation you give your brain: It sends a signal that your brain doesn’t need to remember everything it needs to do. It rests easier when it is on paper because, like putting something tangible in physical “home”, you know where to find those thoughts and to do’s again.  Which is powerful. And, by putting the list of to do’s that is in your head down on paper you are able to see more clearly what you need to do, when, and perhaps even how.  It helps you plan your time and calendar better, too.

2)  Focus.  As in, focus more on doing less. Figure out what is essential and important and focus on that. It helps you simplify and do your tasks better, perhaps more thoroughly. It doesn’t matter how much is on your list. You can’t do it all at once, anyway.  So, use your list to help you focus and prioritize the essential.  And then do less – knowing that in doing so you are accomplishing more.

3) Learn to set limits. Leo Babauta writes about setting limits — what to limit, how, and why it is integral to focusing, simplifying, and achieving — in his fantastic book The Power of Less{It’s a must buy if you are looking to be more productive and organized in your business and your life.} With so much information coming at us all the time and in many different forms it can feel as though there are limitless opportunities to get more done. And isn’t that what we think is best – to get more done in less time. Talk about overwhelming. And ineffective.

We subconsciously, perhaps, feel overwhelmed with all of this “information” and all of these ways to get ahead, get on top, be the first, be the best.  If we just learn to set limits around how and when we work, and what is important, in fact we will be more effective, efficient and happier in our outcomes.

4) Meditate. This really is a major key to overcome overwhelm.  Overwhelm is going to come and go and for sure; it’s natural. But sometimes we need a break from it all. The kind of break from thinking that helps you regroup and recharge not just your brain but your physical body as well.  Meditation – even 2 minutes a day – rejuvenates you, and helps you reset and re-frame any situation – which is part of overcoming overwhelm.  And if the thought of meditating overwhelms you – you aren’t alone! – visit and download Calm.com.  It provides a guided meditation practice so you really don’t have to think.  Genius.

Part of overcoming overwhelm is accepting that it will happen. And by giving yourself the best tools to nip it in the bud it assures you won’t be ruled by it.  Instead, you’ll breathe easier, feel a sense of calm, and get more done -despite the swirling tornado around you.

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About the author: Francesca Verri is a certified holistic health coach, professional organizer and Paleo-living advocate who loves to solve problems, especially ones around organization and health. She helps people see where their life is cluttered, unbalanced, and unwell, and guides them to be more organized and healthy, and to live life verri well.

Francesca is based in Massachusetts and consults nationwide. For more information about her work and to connect with her please visit www.verriwell.com

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