"I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things." – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

As we hurtle down the runway toward the most hectic time of year for many of us, both personally and professionally, let's take a moment to keep things in perspective.

Recently, as I attempted to set my priorities for the day, I became acutely aware of my sense of overwhelm regarding what the next 8 - 10 weeks would bring. That's right. I felt profoundly overwhelmed even with my fancy-schmancy task management system and my weekly review.

As soon as I identified the feeling, I took deliberate steps. I pulled out a sheet of paper and started a handwritten brain dump of everything I could identify as a commitment in the coming weeks. It wasn't even a comprehensive list, but I quickly documented 28 things.

The act of writing these commitments down brought a palpable sense of relief. Documenting the chaos flying around in my head helped me transition from feeling frazzled to the first stages of regaining control. I could take a deep breath and approach the situation more calmly and with more clarity. Sometimes, we're so busy that we don't realize we contribute to our own stress and anxiety.

Years ago, I read an article stating the American Medical Association attributes stress as the fundamental cause of more than 60% of all human illness and disease. Writing things down reduces feelings of stress, allowing us to process thoughts and feelings at a deeper level than just thinking about them or staring at them on a screen. It's also a great release when we feel frustrated and angry. Chalk one up for analog!

Next, I set my list aside. Yep. I just walked away from it. My brain needed a moment to pause without the chaos being front and center. I did some yoga to mindfully engage both my brain and my body. Then I went back to address the list.

I considered where I could ask for help, what items could be removed, and what could be strategically deferred. I realistically determined my bandwidth and prioritized the tasks and projects based on their due dates and the effort required to complete them.

It wasn't easy, but I had to apply a critical eye. Were some things on the list because they were actually important to the business or those around me? Or did I just want them to be important? Sometimes it's tough to tell. We gravitate toward the things we like and want to do, but that doesn't make them meaningful or necessary. And it doesn't make them important to anyone else or your business.

You may question whether this was time well spent when I could have been 'doing' something the entire time. For me, the time spent calming my mind and thoughtfully strategizing my next steps was definitely a worthy investment. In fact, Brian Tracy states every minute you spend in planning saves ten minutes in execution.

Do I still have too much to do? Absolutely! But I can work through solutions and consequences with a much clearer head when I take a step back. Please take the necessary steps and do the same for yourself.

This article first appeared on the New Path Perspective blog by Kathy Muzik for New Path Productivity®, LLC. - https://www.newpathpro.com/

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Muzik is one of Productive Environment Institute's Certified Productive Environment Specialists™ (CPES™).

Our team is consist of Certified Productive Environment Specialists™ (CPES™) who teach business owners a 9-step system to go from overwhelmed to optimized. Step 1 is a free Assessment that can be found at www.ProductiveEnvironmentScore.com.