I hate it when I feel overwhelmed.  It’s usually not because I have too much to do.  It’s because I have too much that I haven’t done.  And there is a huge difference.

When it is just a matter of lots and lots of stuff to accomplish, I manage to break it all down into bite size pieces, and methodically work my way through.  But when there is so much on my plate because I’ve not worked my way though—ignored what I had to do—buried my head in the sand…well, that’s when I feel overwhelmed.

The only way I’ve ever discovered to deal with this is to follow that slogan and “Just do it.”  Pick up the first time to hand and then the second.  Don’t look for the most pressing or important.  Just take what is geographically closest.  And that could be literally the paper that is right there, under your left hand; or the thing that pops first into your mind.

For me, that tends to be the thing that got me to this point in the first place.  The one item that I am having a hard time dealing with.  Which is why it takes so long for me to swallow that frog and, yep, just do it.  But when I do, it feels so good.

The trick is to not overthink it.  Because I’ve now put this off so long, and it looms so large in my psyche, I get bogged down in trying to figure out how to do it just right.  But because I’ve put it off—and because it looms so large, just right is beyond me.  Good enough I’ve discovered can be good, and that can be enough.

Sometimes, though, I haven’t done what I need to do because someone else really is blocking me.

This week, for example, I wanted to get my newsletter out.  It’s written, formatted;  I just need to put up the links so readers can continue to read the articles.  But the client editor function on my website isn’t working and my web person has not been responding for months.

No, wait. Maybe this is me blocking me.  She hasn’t been responding for months and while the client editor problem is a new one, there have been other problems I’ve contacted her about only to get no answer.  Maybe—no, definitely—it is time to take the steps I’ve been avoiding about my web presence.

OK.  It’s not always so clear-cut.  Often it IS someone else blocking the way or slowing down the progress. Here you can only hope that there is either a workaround OR a different direction you can take.  You won’t find either, however, if you get stuck in that overwhelmed, dazed and stunned mindset.

Living well is truly the best revenge.  Getting things done despite someone blocking the road, however, really is a strong second.


Janet Levine works with nonprofits and educational organizations, helping them to increase their fundraising capacity. One important aspect of her work is helping her clients get things done and not feel overwhelmed.  Learn more at http://janetlevineconsulting.com



About janetlevineconsulting

For over 20 years, Janet Levine has worked for and with nonprofit and educational organizations, helping to grow their advancement programs. Her consulting company, Janet Levine Consulting, serves a wide range of organizations from small, all-volunteer agencies to major national organizations. She regularly teaches courses in non-profit management, fundraising and grant development, both face-to-face and online at http://courses.lmlearningstation.com/. In addition to her nonprofit work, Janet brings years of experience as a business and sales manager in the for-profit sector. She has an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University.
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