Do you feel overwhelmed often? Does the world seem complex, confusing and hard to navigate? Are you observing increased levels of stress and worries?
Continued technological advances and innovation are disrupting the familiar world. As a result, what was good enough earlier may seem irrelevant or even obsolete; it’s like you are running fast only to be in the same place.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get swept up in these changes without realizing the adverse effects of an “always-on” world.
Working and being available round the clock, Inability to switch off over the weekend, Checking, rechecking your emails, Feeling anxious each time there is a message notification, Losing sleep over pending tasks.
People suffer silently, hoping things get better on their own.
Do you experience any or all of these?
What’s that doing to your state of mind, your well-being?
In my work as an Executive Coach, I am observing five challenges.
1. A sense of helplessness/lack of control
“No matter what I do, it just doesn’t seem enough”, “I am anxious all the time”, “I am going to bed with worries on my mind and waking up with them”, and ” I am afraid something will go wrong.”
2. Fatigue – physical, mental and emotional
“Sometimes I feel like I am going to collapse”, “I feel so drained, kind of empty”, “I wish there were more hours in the day”, “How did I end up with so many responsibilities.”, “I am tired of giving so much.”
3. Increased errors in judgement, choices and decisions
“I feel rushed all the time”, “I am making decisions without thinking them through”, “I don’t seem to be exploring options”, and “I wish I had reflected a bit more; those were a series of bad calls.”
4. Inability to stay calm, composed/ feeling anxious, nervous
“It’s like I am falling, and I cannot stop it”, “I am always wondering what might be going wrong”, “People say I look worried, edgy, they are afraid to speak with me”,
5. Procrastination/ putting things off/ forgetfulness/ falling behind
“I know it will bite me later, but I still put it off for later”, “I stare at my task list and end up doing something outside of it”, “My weekends see me doing pending work; it never seems to end.”, “I can barely keep up; forget about trying to be proactive.”
“Take it easy, take it easy.
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy.”
The antidote rests in simplifying.
In taking ownership of your well-being, being accountable, doing things that reduce complexity and make things simpler, pausing, slowing down, and reflecting. In becoming aware that the current approach is not a sustainable way of showing up and getting things done, Learning to put first things first, and getting clear on what matters and why.
Here are five simple yet powerful approaches you can explore to reduce complexity, overwhelm and simplify your work and life outside of it.
1. Know Thyself
Understand who you are and what brings you joy. Then, reflect on your values, dreams, aspirations and goals. Pay attention to things that fill you with energy and make you feel alive.
Life is short, and the world immense; you don’t have to show up everywhere and participate in everything. Instead, choose your focus areas and stay with them while letting go of the rest. This mindful approach will help you become more aware of yourself and your desired path in life.
2. Align with Resonance
People tend to make choices impulsively, driven by heightened emotions, for reasons they fully do not understand. As a result, they spend enormous amounts of precious time and energy fighting, struggling, and coping with those misaligned choices.
Stop twisting yourself to fit into poorly made choices; every day gives you the chance to make a fresh start. First, identify your core values, for they will support you in choosing better. Then, flow where you find resonance and align with it.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Your habitual tendencies run your life from when you wake up to when you go to bed and fall asleep. Unfortunately, while habits help you be productive, get things done and stay effective, they can also make you feel rushed and overwhelmed.
Mindfulness practices allow you to slow down, create space, lighten up, be present, cherish, and savour the joys of everyday life. Being mindful can also support you in being open, aware and making wiser choices.
4. Keep Learning
Over time, like most others, you, too, are likely to get caught up in the demands of life and let go of active, formal Learning.
But unfortunately, by allowing this to happen, you are inadvertently choosing to rely on past knowledge and concepts, even if they are irrelevant. So accept you don’t know it all; let openness and curiosity be your companions, and life’s journey will be enriching.
5. Make better choices
Identify your values, know what’s important to you and make more conscious, mindful choices. Simplifying is a lifelong, never-ending exercise. Drama, confusion, and complexity will keep arriving at your doorstep; Your work is to recognize and choose not to take them in.
Begin today; start with what you know and have. Simplifying has power, and magic, evoke it.
Points to Ponder
- What or who is adding to the complexity in your life?
- What part of that is in your control?
- Where do you have an opportunity to reduce complexity?
- Who can help you overcome overwhelm?
- What one small action can you take today to simplify your life?
May your life be light, spacious and joyful.