People are not made for multitasking. No, not even if it seems fine. When our focus is not on a single task, we tend to be less productive, feel more stressed, and achieve worse results. This is true of our work, but it’s also true for our problems and our goals.
When we are overwhelmed and trying to fix everything at once, we are less likely to solve them well. The same is true for our goals. When we are trying to improve our career, our marriage, and our weight simultaneously, it becomes very difficult to do any of these things well.
How to solve problems, then? Let’s see.
Solve one and proceed
Take it one at a time. First, consider which task, problem, or goal is the absolute priority. What is the most important thing you can do right now? Focus on just that. Once you are done, ask yourself the same question and proceed.
Don’t overthink it.
Often, we wait to take action until we are confident. We make and discard plans and ruminate about the things that make us especially anxious. This means that we don’t move ahead, we stay in one place, waiting for a certainty that will never come.
It would be best if you took the time to think things through, but don’t get stuck in the planning stage.
Start acting now
When we feel overwhelmed, we don’t start doing anything as the problems pile up. This is often because we feel like the issue is just too big and too complex, so we end up paralyzed. The best way to counteract this is by taking action.
Even if we do something small, it makes our emotional state better. It can also empower us to go further. The first step is simply to open that email, answer that text, and wash a single plate. But it’s still important to take it.
Small goals lead to big goals.
Small goals can help you achieve big goals. Even the biggest goals imaginable (becoming a business owner, getting married, writing a novel) can be split into a series of smaller goals that will lead you on your journey.
Take time to consider the path to solving that big problem or achieving that goal.
Set some deadlines
We tend to procrastinate, especially if something doesn’t have a clear deadline attached or if that deadline is a long time away. We might leave our biggest problems to be solved at the last minute, giving us a lot of additional stress. A good tip is to set your own deadlines. Just like with smaller steps and goals, if you have an issue with a looming deadline, add some of your own to get your work started.
For example, if you have to finish a paper that is due in a month, you can set a closer deadline at two weeks and decide you need to have half of it finished by then.
Ask for support
Sometimes, we can ask others to help us solve the issues we are facing or give us ideas. This works best when we are overwhelmed and have a social circle that we can rely on. Others can suggest new perspectives, intriguing solutions, or give us the emotional support we need to start acting.
People are fundamentally social by our very nature, so taking advantage of this trait is quite useful.
Remember that it will all pass.
Sometimes, what you need to do is wait, and this can be very hard emotionally. When you are overwhelmed, facing a lot of issues, and limited in what you can do, the best thing is to remember that nothing will last forever and that this issue too will be resolved, one way or another.
Even something deeply painful won’t hurt the same way forever.