It’s a sign. Remember the last time you were so overwhelmed and then you got sick? You missed a commitment to someone important? You fell and hurt yourself. You had a crying jag or a temper blowup. You made a careless mistake with a client, an email or paperwork.
After reading my article “5 Signs You Have A Full Plate,” you were going to check on the signs you see in your own life, to see if any of the ones I mentioned show up and to see if there are different signs which are uniquely yours. That’s step #1.
[If you have ADHD, read more here about emotions and ADHD.]
Step #2 is figuring how to manage around the signs, which I’ll cover here.
Small Ways to Get Back on Track
Highest priority? Get things under control a bit. We need to fix first so that you don’t keep making the same mistakes. Break the cycle, because this is not the person you are. It’s a behavior but it is not you.
[Fixed/growth mindset article – Here’s background on the person/behavior point.]
In my last article, I shared five common signs that tell people their plate is too full. If you missed the signs, check in quickly there first. Below are some first step solutions.
For sign #1: Emails are misinterpreted.
- Review your email twice.
- Read it aloud to yourself.
- Draft it and send to yourself; let it marinate overnight.
- Shorten your emails in general.
- Ask someone else to start it and draft it …. or review what you write.
- Do more by phone or in person if possible so that in this difficult time, you’re not misunderstood.
For sign #2: Losing things.
- Slow down; attention is key. If you’re not paying attention, you’re not letting it register what you are doing. Then there’s no way to recall where you were because it’s not been registered in your memory.
- Talk to yourself; saying something out loud [in a whisper] takes it out of your head and slows you down.
- Remind yourself of which organizing strategies work well for you. Try Google Keep, a paper notepad, Word document, or a favorite app. Often when we feel we have to much on our plates it’s because we’re not using the strategies we know work for us. It’s purely because we are overwhelmed, or if you have ADHD, it’s due to executive function differences [your brain wiring and the chemicals that deal with regulation and attention].
For sign #3:”Yes” or “No”
Solutions to Saying “No” to fun, because you have so much on your plate. Or “Yes” when you know you have too much on your plate.
- Create a “Not to do now” list. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever do these things but right now when you’re really overwhelmed, this can feel freeing.
- Ask friends how they say “no.” Try out different phrases or wording until you find what works for you. Usually, if you say “No,” you can either make that your one word answer; no explanations necessary. Or, you can say “No, I can’t right now, but I could if [it were later; I could change one thing; I could have more help. So it’s really a “Yes, but …”]
- Learn from what just happened to prevent it in the future. Things can change.
For sign #4: Energy.
Choose one small thing to do for yourself, one thing that brings you joy and make it the first thing you do in your day. Consistently.
- Maybe it’s simply spending 5 minutes outside.
- Making sure to have one cup of your finest tea.
- Journaling for 5 minutes about what’s going on.
- Reading if that brings you serenity.
Any small thing will help, because you’re putting yourself first and then all day long, this helps you feel stronger. You’ll be less overwhelmed by everyone else’s demands and requests.
For sign #5: You’re snapping at people.
- Before speaking, practice taking an extra breath.
- Pinch your wrist with your fingers or snap an elastic before speaking; it slows you down and makes you more mindful.
- Practice saying you’d “prefer to think about it and get back later;” don’t react right away with your first thought. In other words, when you’re in this “full plate” space, don’t trust that inner frustration you have. It’s most likely due to your workload and overwhelm, and not because of the other person’s words.
- Physically step back – just an inch or two – away from the person and then answer; it’s enough time to pause.
What Comes Next
- Next, is to figure out why your plate is so full, just for this time it’s happening. Not for every time it has happened in the past. Just this time.
- Then see if you notice any recurring patterns, in other words, do you keep ending up in the same place as you are now? When has this happened before and what was going on?
- And last, resolve for these lifelong patterns. Why does the cycle keep happening and how do we solve for that.
5 common signs and symptoms for your plate being too full. And more than 5 ideas to break the cycle.
Calmly and patiently yours,
- ADHD, time management and big life changes: coaching/organizing – one or both; in person, virtual – one or both.
- Single meetings, packages, and roadmaps. Your choice.
- 603.554.1948 or email: Sue@CoachSueWest.com