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Feeling Overwhelmed? 4 Mistakes to Avoid

Tell me if any of this sounds familiar. You feel you are going in circles and never moving forward. You are always busy, but nothing ever seems to get done. You are exhausted. Work and life cry out for your attention and pull you in different directions regardless of what you really want to do.
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Tell me if any of this sounds familiar.

You feel you are going in circles and never moving forward.

You are always busy, but nothing ever seems to get done.

You are exhausted.

Work and life cry out for your attention and pull you in different directions, regardless of what you really want to do.

You know you need to change something but you don't know where to start.

You are constantly frustrated because working hard is not working for you anymore.

How do you get out of this endless cycle?

Here are four mistakes that overwhelmed people make when they set an intention to make things better:

Mistake No. 1: Wasting time and energy on things you have no control over

No one controls everything. It's impossible. Some things are simply beyond our influence. Don't waste your time on those things. Instead focus on areas that you can influence or change.

For example, you can't control whether the company you work for will merge or not. (Unless, of course, you are the one making the deal. But if your are reading this, I'm assuming you are not.)

Don't waste your energy or time worrying about it. Allot yourself 5 minutes of worry time, then shift gears. Move on and get over it. Focus on what you can do to make the situation better. Figure out what skills would make you more valuable to the organization. Explore different options so that you are prepared when the decision is finally made and announced.

The Fix -- Focus on things that matter and that you can influence.

Mistake No. 2 -- Adding more to your plate

I see this a lot in my clients. They are responsible, hard working people. They think they have to do more to do better. That mindset always gets them nowhere, fast.

When you are in an overwhelmed state of mind, no good comes from adding more to your plate. Actually, what you want to do is the exact opposite. Delegate; share the load; ask for help.

Think of it as spring-cleaning: You want to get rid of the junk, gunk, and baggage that weigh you down. Make an honest list of what drains your energy, then find a way to get it off your plate.

Here are a few examples of energy drains my clients have worked on recently:
  • An inbox with 56,890 emails and 146 unread emails
  • A boyfriend who doesn't respect your time
  • Friends who call in the middle of the night when you're exhausted
  • Co-workers who only care for their own recognition
  • A boss who dumps more and more work on you
  • Clothes that hang in your closet, but you never wear
  • A stack of mail that needs to be sorted through
  • A gym membership you never use
  • Parents who nag you about never hearing from you
  • An online dating membership that you rarely check
  • Unhealthy junk food in your pantry
  • The insecurity you feel when you see friends on Facebook having fun

The Fix -- Simplify your life to include only those things that make you feel good; release everything else with love.

Mistake No. 3 -- Having no vision of where you want to be

You need to know where you are heading if you want to get there. Unless you want to wander forever -- and wow, that would be exhausting.

Sit down and ask yourself: "If I could live whatever life I wanted, what kind of life would I want to live?"

In my early twenties, I thought my ideal life would be to start each day leisurely on a terrace with a flute of champagne and The Financial Times. I would work at my own pace wherever and whenever I wanted to. I wasn't sure how I would get there, but that was the way I wanted to live. Nowadays, I don't necessarily want to start my morning with champagne (I've grown a little wiser since then), but the essence of my vision hasn't changed.

In my ideal life, I see myself running my own business. I can work from any place around the world.

I'm happy to report that I'm living that life right now! I don't attribute my situation to luck; rather, I believe I achieved the life of my dreams because I had the vision and I held on to it.

The Fix -- Dream big. Set your sights on a vision of your ideal life. Then take steps every day toward making that vision a reality. When you choose to make things happen, they will.

Mistake No. 4 -- Making a drastic change at once

Most people try something new and give up if they don't find immediate success. Why? Because change takes time, effort, and stamina. You can't make a drastic change in your life and expect immediate results. You can't get to the mountaintop without a long hike up. It starts with one step. And then the next. With each step you move closer to your goal.

The Fix -- Every day take one step in the direction of your ideal life. Slow, steady progress is how change is made. And it starts from one little step.

The most important advice I can offer is this: be patient and persistent.

Start today. When you look back three months, six months or a year from now, you will see how far you have come.

Trust me, when you make consistent, small actions they build up and move you to the next level. Little by little your situation will improve.

My question to you is: What changes are you going to make to get out of overwhelm and make your life better?


Nozomi Morgan, MBA, is a certified Executive Coach and the Founder and President of Michiki Morgan Worldwide LLC. Addition to coaching, she speaks and trains on leadership, career, professional development and cross-cultural business communication.

Visit to learn more about Nozomi . There, you can download the free Leadership Discovery Tool. Follow Nozomi on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.