Every woman I’ve ever worked with has this problem…
It’s a problem that shows up in different ways…
You will experience it one way, I will experience it another… Overwhelm.
When you’re Overwhelmed, you know it.
You feel physically exhausted. You might also feel mentally and emotionally drained, find it difficult to get to sleep or be awake in the middle of the night and not able to get back to sleep.
You find you have no patience, you snap at the children or your partner or your colleagues and then feel guilty about it. You’ve got so much to do you don’t know where to start, so you don’t.
You feel inadequate and paralysed, which makes you feel even more overwhelmed.
Does any of this sound familiar?
When I was employed in corporate business, I had a demanding job. I was responsible for setting up and running global programs for the company I worked for, I travelled a lot, there was always a mountain of work on my desk and I never seemed to get to the end of my ‘to do’ list.
On top of that I was juggling bringing up two children, arranging child care, managing a bitter divorce and resentful ex-husband, trying to be a ‘good’ parent, being stretched financially by huge lawyers bills and dealing with my immense feelings of guilt for leaving my husband and breaking up the family in the first place…
I coped, because I was good at coping, but I was on the edge most of the time. In fact, like many women, time was one of my biggest challenges.
Whether you feel overwhelmed or not depends on your relationship with time and what you choose to do with it.
Time is a great equalizer. It is the one thing that every person on the planet has exactly the same amount of. You don’t have any more than me, and I don’t have any more than you. Everyone has 24 hours in every day.
So, when you catch yourself saying:
• I never have enough time for myself
• My children/job/business takes all my time
• I’ve no time for myself because I do everything and nobody appreciates it
what you’re really saying is:
• I don’t take the time to make what I want to do a priority
• I choose to let my children/job/business be more important than meeting my own needs
• I take on the role of ‘superwoman’ so that others will notice and be pleased and I will receive validation from them.
You choose how you use your time and nobody else chooses to prioritize others needs over your own. Once you understand and own this reality, you empower yourself to change it.
Here’s an exercise to help you.
Buy yourself a notebook that’s small enough to carry around with you. It will need to fit into your handbag!
Every time you feel time overwhelm – not having enough of it, feeling that others are taking it from you, over-giving to others, under-giving to yourself – make a note of it and ask yourself:
• What is it I’m feeling right now
• What do I need more of
• What do I need less of
• What do I really want
• Who or what is in the way
Look at your answers and remember, be specific and look beneath the surface…
For example, you may find yourself saying ‘I need space’.
Ask yourself what does ‘space’ mean exactly?
Is it quiet time by yourself to read a book, or time to get out into the park for a revitalizing walk or maybe time to ‘switch off’ in a group aerobics class at the gym.
Decide to take responsibility for your choices. Acknowledge that you alone allocate your time. Be honest about the real reasons you choose to give your time away.
• What are my answers telling me
• In what areas of my life do I feel deprived
• How am I compensating
• What do I need to stop doing
• What do I need to start doing
Commit to doing this exercise for 30 days.
See what comes up for you,then make choices and take action.
When you do, you take control of your life and your overwhelm.