Handling Overwhelm, Staying Productive and Asking for Help

Seeking Calm

Seeking Calm

Clearly, I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed. After my last post — a cry for help in managing overwhelm — many people got in touch with me.

Through email, phone calls, Facebook and comments at the end of the post, I heard from many of you.  And I’m excited to share the things that have already made a big difference.

Sanebox: A System for E-Sanity

Melea Seward’s suggestion of sanebox.com wins the prize!

Sanebox is a remarkable app that looks at the patterns of your hundreds of thousands of past emails and comes up with a magic formula that sorts out the emails you want to read when they come in and the ones you either don’t want to read or are happy to wait til later to read.

Then, Sanebox sets up the system for you — you get only what you need and want to read in your inbox and all the rest in a “Later” folder. Presto! with the click of a button, I no longer spend hours every day wading through my inbox and doing my own triage. I never realized how long that took.

I feel a huge relief. Not only have I gained at least an hour or more a day, but I feel less distracted and frazzled. Easy and free. Sanebox.com. WOW!

Getting Things Done: Action-Based Life Management

Then, on the recommendation of several people, I got David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. My young friend Brigid Ganley recommended this book to me a couple years ago, but I didn’t pursue it. Now I wish I had!

What’s so special about David Allen’s approach to organizing your life? It’s action-based, not time-managed.

I’ve never been a Daytimer kind of gal. I just can’t track my day by time. I can’t predict how long things will take and I don’t want to be boxed in when what I enjoy most is a sense of flow.

So when I read the action-based, next-step approach of organizing my life in Getting Things Done, it was like a balm to my spirit. I felt a bit like I was doing Yoga.

His system feels intuitive. And that’s his point. He’s simply created a way of working that’s in line with the way most people work naturally.

Trello: Lists to Hold it All Together

Finally, I’ve set up Trello boards — thanks to Danielle Jackson for getting me started on this.

Trello.com is a fantastic list system that lets you create boards for your lists. Each board has cards that can be moved easily from one board to another. You can add a checklist, calendar entry and/or attachments to any card. And best of all, you can forward emails to Trello Boards. So when there’s an email with something you’ve got to do, you just send along and it creates new to-do card.  I’ve set up my boards on a system that David Allen suggests.

I’m not quite all together yet, but with everyone’s help, I’m feeling better, clearer, calmer and more productive.

Thank you so much to all who chimed in to offer their suggestions and compassion. I’m so glad I asked for help. The process of asking helped me better understand my need. And the responses reminded me that I’m not alone!

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Ask for Help When You Need It

It’s easy to imagine that you’re alone in what’s troubling you. But that’s seldom the case. Have the courage to ask people for help when you need it. You may find, as I did, that not only do many people experience the same challenges, but they are more than happy to help. You may even discover some amazing solutions to your problems that you never would’ve found otherwise.

Do you feel uncomfortable asking for help? What’s holding you back? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to repay the favor and help you, if I can.

  • Ca girl

    Hi, I recently moved out of California and now in Singapore with my family. My family seems to have settled in except for me- no job yet ( accepted an offer but still waiting), lots of free time and now lonely and unhappy. Even my relationship with my husband is affected. I want to have my identity back and my happiness and I know I cant go back to Ca and have my previous life..