How to Respond When You Feel Buried



Blizzard of 2016 – Snow Storm Jonas

I live right in the path of the major snow fall that took place along the east coast this weekend.  I don’t know the exact number, but I’m fairly certain we had over 2 feet of snow fall in our area.

We have a long driveway.

How will I move all that snow?

This is the thought that went through my head when I woke up to the reality of the work ahead of me.  I felt overwhelmed.

How often do you have this feeling – the feeling of being buried?

We add too many things to our responsibility list.  We start out with the best intentions, but we get behind.  Before we know it, we are buried by a long list of things we need to address.  We quickly move to a level of paralysis that is the result of not knowing where to start.

What should we do when we get to this point – when we feel buried?

Today, I want to help you answer this question.  I’ve identified seven essentials to moving ahead when you feel buried.  Here they are:

7 Ways to Respond When You Feel Buried

  1. Take a deep breath.  Actually, you may need to take many deep breaths.  Studies show that deep breathing actually helps to alleviate feelings of stress.  I recently downloaded a new application to my phone called Calm that helps users learn the deep breathing and meditation techniques.  Taking a deep breath gives you the opportunity to re-center yourself.  Before I went out to shovel, I took a deep breath.
  2. Do a brain dump.  When you feel buried, you need to get all that stuff out of your head.  Take time to write down the list of things that are causing you to feel buried.  Keep the list handy, so you can add to it later.  I use Wunderlist and Notability to help get the stuff out of my head.  You don’t need a fancy software application to make this work.  Go get a piece of paper and a pen, and get that stuff out of your head.
  3. Prioritize your list.  Look at the list you created when you did your brain dump.  Prioritize this list.  What things are important?  What things aren’t so important?  What things are urgent?  What things aren’t so urgent?  Determine which things really need to be addressed, and determine what things can wait or be forgotten all together.  You may want to assign a number to each item on your list – a 1 for the most important things and a 5 for the things that can wait.
  4. Schedule your list.  Use the list you created and assign a deadline for each item.  Plan out your days over the next week or two or three to tackle your list.  I’d recommend spending 15 minutes each day to plan your day.  Obviously, you have things you need to address for your work and for your family.  When you plan your day, you can see the gaps in your schedule.  Use these gaps to intentionally tackle the items on your list.
  5. Focus on one thing at a time.  Don’t try to do it all at once.  John Lee Dumas uses tells the listeners of his podcast to F.O.C.U.S. – Focus on One Course Until Success.  When you focus on too many things, you end up focusing on nothing.  The feeling of being buried returns, and you settle back into paralysis.  Get more traction on your list by focusing on one thing at a time.  Shoveling out from the storm, I had to focus on one area of snow at a time.  Once I completed that area, I could move to the next.  Overtime, my driveway was cleared.
  6. Get ‘er done.  Just do it!  You can’t accomplish anything on your list by sitting around.  You have to get up and get moving.  Decide today to tackle your list, and take action today.
  7. Get help.  Help comes in many forms.  My kids helped me shovel the snow, and I hired someone to run their snow plow up the driveway.  The snow plow couldn’t get everything, but this was a huge help.  Get someone to hold you accountable to take the above steps.  You don’t need to tell the world, but you may need a friend or two to check in with you to make sure you are making progress.  If you need help prioritizing your list and scheduling your list, I’d love to help.  Don’t be too proud to get the help you need to dig yourself out!

How do you respond when you are overwhelmed, buried, or stressed?  When was the last time you experienced this feeling?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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