How To Push Forward You’re Feeling Overwhelmed or Unfocused.
“Where focus goes, energy flows”- Tony Robbins.
“Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing and is far more unpleasant. Being selective- doing less- is the path of productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest”- Tim Ferriss.
I recently read Tim Ferris’ book Tribe of Mentors, and it was packed full of tools, tactics and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs, to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles contained knowledge and wisdom to help answer some of life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results and transform your life.
One of the recurring questions asked throughout the book was:
“When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)”
The responses to this question really highlighted to me that feelings of overwhelm and lack of focus are something that impacts just about all of us, no matter how successful, intelligent or disciplined someone may be. What really matters however, are the strategies and systems you put in place to get back on track as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
So, you are probably wondering what you can do to push forward at times when you are feeling overwhelmed or unfocused?
Here is what Tim Ferris asks himself:
If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?
Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?
Ferriss says these two questions are vital for to how prioritise his life, focus his energy, and ultimately accomplish important tasks.
And what about the great leaders featured in Tribe of Mentors? It turns out, many of them ask themselves important questions, some of which I have highlighted below:
1. WHAT DO YOU NEED RIGHT NOW IN ORDER TO BE HAPPY?
When feeling overwhelmed or unfocused, Sharon Salzberg, the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and a New York Times bestselling author asks herself:
“”What do you need right now in order to be happy? Do you need anything other than what is happening right now in order to be happy?” That orients me right away toward what I care about. I also try to remember to breathe. I’ve seen that if I feel overwhelmed, I freeze, and my breath gets quite shallow. “Just breathe” is also something I say to myself if I feel chaotic. Or I shift my attention to feel my feet against the ground. Mostly we tend to think of our consciousness residing up in our heads, behind our eyes. What I’ve learned I have to do is start by gently bringing my energy down, so I’m feeling my feet from my feet. Try it!”
2. WHAT IS THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Esther Dyson, an active angel investor, best-selling author, board member, and advisor concentrating on emerging markets and technologies, asks:
“”What is the worst thing that could happen?” Fear of the unknown is generally far worse than fear of something specific. If it’s not the death of yourself or those you are responsible for, there’s probably some reasonable set of options you should consider calmly and thoughtfully.”
3. ARE YOU THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF RIGHT NOW? WHERE SHOULD YOUR ATTENTION BE?
Adam Robinson is a rated chess master and has been awarded a Life Master title by the United States Chess Federation. When feeling unfocused, the first question Adam asks himself is:
““Am I rehearsing my best self?” And if the answer is no, I ask myself how can I reset. Each day presents us with 86,400 seconds, which means each day presents us with virtually countless opportunities to reset, recover our balance, and continue rehearsing our best selves. If I realise my focus is off, and certainly when I’m experiencing any negative emotions, I ask myself, “Where should my attention be right now?”
Almost always, the answer is “my mission,” which is like a beacon that always beckons. But sometimes I take on too many commitments. Because I sometimes have trouble saying no to others eager to work with me, I can become overcommitted and overwhelmed.
When that happens, rather than attempting to do everything badly, I ask myself, “What activity or commitment can I cut out right now that will free up the most time?”
4. WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE DESTINATION?
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, an international religious leader, philosopher, award-winning author asks himself:
“What did I key into the sat-nav system of my life (where do I want to be 10, 20 years from now)? What is my ultimate destination? You have to look at that every time you feel overwhelmed. Remembering that destination will help you make the single most important distinction in life, which is to distinguish between an opportunity to be seized and a temptation to be resisted.”
5. ARE YOU SLEEPING? EATING RIGHT? EXERCISING?
Dr. Brené Brown, whose 2010 TEDxHouston Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” has been viewed more than 36 million times and is one of the top five most viewed TED Talks in the world, asks herself a series of questions:
3. Healthy food?
If you feel the counterproductive and — despite your best efforts — unfocused, remember to ask yourself these questions. Your answers to them will get you back on track, shed some clarity on what you need to do, and ease some of the pressure you’ve placed on yourself.”
HOW TO PUSH FORWARD WHEN YOU ARE FEELING OVERWHELMED OR UNFOCUSED
Are there any strategies you use when you are feeling overwhelmed or unfocused? Do you ask yourself a series of questions, or is a simple breathing exercise or walk around the block enough to get your mind right?
I would love to hear your thoughts- please leave your comments below!