The Prequel to OYO is AYO!
Awhile back, I wrote an article called OYO. OYO stands for Organize Your Overwhelm. I detailed the 5 Step process for organizing and overcoming your overwhelm once you are knee-deep in it.
Avoiding Your Overwhelm
There is a PREQUEL to OYO and that’s AYO. AYO stands for Avoiding Your Overwhelm. This article will teach you how to avoid getting into overwhelm all together. You start to feel it when you get a little behind but before you know it overwhelm can start to creep in. You will learn how to stay ahead of it and use our 6 Step AYO process for completely avoiding overwhelm. AYO to the rescue!
You Are Not Alone – Most Deal With Overwhelm
You are not alone – a study from the Families and Work Institute found most Americans feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and things they need to do on a daily and weekly basis. You can avoid this from now on because you are about to learn the tools you need to neutralize it long before it shows up.
In the graphic, you see the 6 steps in the AYO Process. Let’s walk through each of them so you can immediately apply them to loosen the grip of overwhelm on your business and your life!
Mind Dump & Prioritize – There is a magic process that stops all the stuff from piling up in your head. It’s called Mind Dumping. That’s where you grab a piece of paper and a pen and you write down all the to-do’s, should-do’s, have to-dos’ etc. You get them out of your head on to the paper. Try it right now. Stop reading this article, grab some paper and just let it flow for a few minutes. Doing this on a consistent basis will keep overwhelm at bay. I like to mind dump and plan my day the night before. I call it NDP or Next Day Planning. This way I’m ready for the day and I can sleep better knowing the next day is planned out. On a weekly basis, I make a Selfplan. I do this on Friday afternoons and it includes mind dumping again and then planning and prioritizing everything for the week ahead. I like to under-schedule instead of over-schedule myself so I have time to work on important but not urgent tasks. Give yourself a few hours of non-scheduled time every day.
Stop the Inflow – One way to give yourself time to do the important and non-urgent tasks is to stop the inflow of new projects, new tasks, new to-dos, distractions, and notifications. The best way to do that is to use the two-letter overwhelm squashing word: NO. Yup, that’s the most powerful word you have to stop the inflow of new demands on your time. So, how do you take control of NO? First use the fact that you are busy, you are working on things that are of the utmost importance to you and your life. “Hey, I’m focused on an important project right now, let’s connect in a couple of weeks.” A quick way to buy some time to keep up your NO courage is to say I’ll need to check my schedule and get back to you. The bigger and more important the goals are in your life the easier it will be to say NO to the things that won’t get you there.
Other inflows to stop are notifications, rings, bings, dings and things that interrupt you and your flow all day long. Turn off all those things on your phone, tablet, and computers. You won’t miss them and you won’t be getting overwhelmed by the outside world. They will survive. From time to time I like to turn it all off and go into Airplane Mode – that’s when you set your phone to not get anything as if you were on an airplane. News and social media fasts are another way to decrease the inflow – especially when you are very busy.
Move the Needle – Progress over everything else. You have to keep the needle moving. Finishing is fun and not finishing is fatiguing. Chunk it down to the doable. Down to a list of things that can be done and checked off today. You need to get some things in the win column if overwhelm is starting to build. As Richard James says: “Action kills fear” and it can also kill overwhelm. You can make progress with Leaps and Little Steps. Leaps are big things like taken a whole day to turn off the world and get stuff done. I call these Super Results Days. Little Steps work as well – for example waking up 30 minutes earlier each day to knock out some important but not urgent tasks. Chunk it down and get it done – the dopamine (brain chemical released when you get something done) hit you get will carry you on to complete the next step.
Gain Clarity & Resolve – Being clear about where you are going – I call this your Point B. It is key to avoiding all roads away from B which will cause long term overwhelm. You are moving from Point A to Point B so get clear on where you want to go and why you want to go there. Review the 80/20 rule to realize that most (80%) of the things you do don’t produce big results but the vital few (20%) produce big results. Focus on the 20%. Spend time in resetting each week to make sure you are moving towards your Point B. I like Friday afternoons during my Selfplan time. I review my big goal – what it means to me and why I want to achieve it. Then, I say “Will the activities I’ve planned get me closer to that?” I also watch my self-talk which can weaken your resolve. Instead of saying “I can’t handle it” or “I’m way behind” say “I will prioritize and do the right thing.”
Stay in a Peak State – You get more done and you feel less overwhelmed when you are in a peak state or a state of flow. When you are in “The Zone” you fly through the to-do list with great energy levels. How do you keep yourself in a peak state? Take care of the physical side: healthy food, water, meditation (I like the app Headspace.com), breaks and good sleep. Fill your mind with positive audiobooks, music, people and gratitude. Reduce clutter – everything has a place – find that place or get rid of the item. Set your day up with a good morning routine that’s pre-set the night before. Have some fun – do something silly, watch a funny video, dance around the room.
Offload – Always think WHO before the DO. Who else, besides you, could do what you are doing? What task do you repeat over and over that could be offloaded to someone else? Getting things off your plate will free up time, give you more control, and help you to avoid overwhelm. There are many things we choose to do ourselves when there are people that do it better than us! I’ve got someone that irons better than me, does pool maintenance and landscaping better than me and listens to recorded calls and takes notes better than me. Start offloading right now. Make a quick list of 3 things you can begin off-loading this week. This could be at home or could be in the business.
Now you have the power to AYO – to Avoid Your Overwhelm. Overwhelm is like a bathtub filling up with water. If we don’t let some of the water out, if we don’t decrease the flow of water into the tub it will overflow. You have the tools to stop the flow of water, unclog the drain and take total control of your tub.
No more overwhelm for you – now you know how to AYO. Take a moment today and share AYO with someone else, the world could use less overwhelm. Take control and make it a great day… Blaine
Blaine Oelkers is a lifetime entrepreneur, a graduate of Purdue University and Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship program. He’s achieved over 100 Million dollars in sales and has coached 1000s of business owners. He’s America’s Chief Results Officer® (CRO) helping business owners and their companies get results. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blaine is America’s Chief Results Officer® and the world’s greatest creator of doneness. He knows your results matter and he can help you get better, faster and more long-lasting results. Get started with one simple and elegant results technique that activates your mind with your top goal over 100 times a day. He explains it in a short TEDx talk he did which has been viewed by over 120,000 people! Your results matter – get access immediately at www.BlaineTEDx.com