How to handle distraction and overwhelm

I realised that I’ve been up to my old tricks again. Well, my mind is up to it’s tricks. I’ve been getting distracted, this time by the online world.

Signing up to all sorts of free offerings, so my inbox is like a tidal wave of downloads each morning. It’s called Shiny Object Syndrome, and it fuels distraction and overwhelm. Something to be managed and hopefully avoided!

There are online summits, webinars and podcasts I’m keen to listen to, information I’m wanting to read, both for my own interest and business related. At the moment it’s all happening at once … and I’m not wanting to miss out (shiny object syndrome!!).

It’s easy to get caught up in searching for what you think you need. Looking and waiting for useful information or advice, that tip or suggestion that will make all the difference. Here I was writing last week about balance. Then I find I’m up in my head again!

I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to deal with all that I want to do and pursue (well, not if I want to get a good nights sleep, that is!). Filing things away for one day … and I’ve noticed my head is starting to swim again. I’ve even been waking up during the night and having trouble getting back to sleep, all because my mind is whirling.

I’m proving to myself that we are always a work-in-progress.   That’s reality.  There is never a point in life when life suddenly becomes all ease and flow. Challenges will arise, excuses and fear will pop up to have their say,  and over time, there will always be change to deal with.

So I thought I’d share some tips I’ve found useful this week.  I finally feel like I’m back on the ground again, though it’s taken a few days.  It’s helpful to have some strategies ready, so you can be prepared.


The tips I’ve found to be helpful in reducing distraction and calming my monkey mind:

Reconsider your commitments
Is what you need/plan to get done in the week ahead realistic?  Or do you just have too much on your plate?   What can you say no to, or defer (even if your initial response is nothing)?

Make a list of what needs to get done
Prioritise the most important tasks (those that can’t wait) and make those into a new list, and work through that.  Concentrate just on that smaller list and leave the rest aside until later.

Keep your focus
Work on focusing on just one thing at a time (hugely challenging for women, I know!).  Focusing on tasks for shorter periods can help as well.  Work in sprints not marathons.

Stand and stretch
If you’re working at a desk and computer for long stints, take regular breaks and stand up and stretch.
Feel into your stiffness as you stretch and breath deeply to move energy through your body.
A brilliant blog post to read is by Nicola at Reclaiming Strength, about posture and how it effects more than just our body – you can read it HERE.

Put your phone aside
Checking emails and social media are the biggest distractions.  It will all be there later, so turn your notifications off regularly and put your phone out of site for a while.

Allow yourself some time off
Just keeping going and going doesn’t necessarily ensure you’ll get everything done.  Sometimes it just leads to burn-out.  Allow periods of relaxation, doing what you enjoy (hobby, exercise, social catch-up).  Fuelling your tank in this way will help you be more efficient.

Spend time in stillness every day
Always by biggest tip – ensure you take time each day to stop, close your eyes and breath deeply. Being present and mindful will help to calm your mind.

And lastly, a tip I’ve shared  previously, but which we all still need a reminder about:

You don’t need to do everything!
… even if you think it’s easier if you do.  It’s okay not to have the house looking perfect, to ask your partner or kids to help you with the chores, to maybe outsource something you don’t enjoy doing or just don’t have time for. As women we feel like we have to be on top of everything all of the time. Try to be a little more strategic and delegate wherever possible!





2 thoughts on “How to handle distraction and overwhelm

  1. Great tips here Gail. I’ve suffered from shiny object syndrome in the past too. We can only do what we can do and at some point need to be realistic and prioritise.

    1. I find it keeps popping up for me, Sandra. First step is always awareness, so at least I can then choose to do something about it.
      ‘We can only do what we can do …’ – so very true! Gxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *