How to respond to Overwhelm

One of the keys to managing yourself effectively in relation to time is being sufficiently self-aware to resourcefully address overwhelm as it arises.

An effective tool for managing overwhelm involves changing how one looks at its trigger. In his ground breaking book, Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins proposes that the best way to deal with overwhelm, is to firstly acknowledge it, and secondly, see it as a “call to action”. In other words, see overwhelm as having a message for you. Generally speaking you are likely to feel overwhelmed when you are over loaded; that is when you have too much to do / are ‘time pressured’.

You may be feeling that you have too much on your plate. Another feeling is that you have lost control over a situation. The message is that you have not prioritised things in your life.

People who have learned to read overwhelm as a messages, are able to manage themselves effectively in that they are able to able to take action

  • Decide on which crucial tasks require completion (as above).
  • The simple of act of listing means you start to have more control over your load.
  • Write down in order of priority what is most important to accomplish (as above).
  • Chunk tasks down.
  • Remember the orange segments! Break tasks down into small steps.


  • Act on your priorities.


“You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going”

Tracy Repchuk


  • This can be done in one of three ways, using ‘3D’ – DO IT NOW DIARISE / DECIDE WHEN TO DO IT, or DELEGATE!
  • Use Small Periods Of Time To Get Started
  • There are many tasks which because of their complexity and wealth of detail, are difficult to start. There are always other (and sometimes less important) tasks which give instant satisfaction.
  • Take consistent action

“Ordinary steps taken consistently produce extra-ordinary results”

Alex Mandossian

  • Be prepared to re-prioritise as necessary.
  • Re-evaluate continually. Asking yourself questions such as:

Why am I doing this? 

What happens if I chose not to do it?

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