Tackling the Overwhelming

Do you find yourself in situations where things start piling up and it seems there is no end to the amount of tasks you need to complete? Do you have a daily task list compounding into something that seems overwhelming? When you woke up today, did your mind start randomly pulling items up as you tried to remember and organize all that was ahead of you for the day?

It’s finals week at my daughter’s high school and other events are quickly wrapping up at my youngest daughter’s elementary school. With this comes the added stress and workload as teachers and school systems try to clean the slate heading into summer. Over the last few days I’ve heard my girls talk about everything on their plate and how much they have to do.

Chip AwayMy advice has been pretty simple. Chip away.

What exactly does that mean? It’s a twofold approach to accomplishing what seems insurmountable.

One At a Time

First of all, you have to concentrate on TODAY. You can keep a high level view of what’s coming for the week, but focus on today and keep it the only thing in scope. You’ll often hear reporters ask sports figures after a big win in a series if they felt they have a chance to wrap it up days later. To which the player will undoubtedly respond with, “we’re just taking it one game at a time.” You should approach it the same way. Even though you may have one helluva week ahead, take it one day at a time.

Preparation should start the night before. In the morning, you can be a little foggy and your mind might let some items slip. Organize a plan for the next day, or at least start some of the mental preparation, the night before. I ask my girls at night what they have tomorrow. I try to find out if there is anything out of the ordinary that is going to pop up that may not be possible to complete during a morning rush out of the house.

Chip Away

I remember watching the early days of the UFC, before it was a multi-million dollar industry. Back then, there were no weight classes. If you were a small guy and you made it to the final, you may face off against a beast twice your size. I remember one particular fight where a much smaller guy faced a man that was probably 6’11 and well over 300lbs.

From the opening of the fight, the smaller fighter started to kick the larger man in the knee. Strike after strike landed as they circled the octagon. There were repeated blows to the same spot. Suddenly there was a slight wobble. The assault on the knee continued at a consistent pace. The larger man started to show the effects and was visibly struggling to keep the leg planted and supporting his frame. Then it happened. One more strike to the leg brought the giant down. The smaller man pounced and went to work in his wheelhouse. A submission was completed within minutes and the shocking win was complete.

I’ve given similar advice to my daughters over these last few days. As we pull up to the school they voice their stress at the number of tests ahead. I reinforce the fact that you can’t look at the whole. Look at the parts and work them individually and methodically. Go one test at a time, one question at a time. Chip away.

Stop concentrating on everything that needs to be done. Look at the immediate tasks in front of you and start working them. At the end of the day you can look back and realize that you were able to accomplish what at first seemed impossible.


    • says

      Thanks. Yes, I find myself trying to just chip away every day. I need to use tools to capture everything then just try to do my best to get SOMETHING accomplished each day.

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