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  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

Do these 2 things when you’re overwhelmed

Many of you may have noticed I took a hiatus from this blog for several weeks. Between the coaching business, the podcast, and finishing the first draft of my book…I’ve felt creatively burnt out.

For the first time since starting this blog in October 2019, I opened up WordPress, began typing, and stopped after writing a couple sentences. Anything I posted would’ve been forced and inauthentic.

So I took a week off.

One week turned into two. Then two became three. Just like working out, the more we skip something, the easier it is to continue skipping it.

Even after revamping the workflow of my podcast, I still felt overwhelmed and unclear as to how I was going to get everything organized. I took entire days off. I procrastinated and avoided all my creative work.

In other words, anything that required me to sit alone in my office and push through resistance…didn’t get done.

Coaching and getting on calls were non-negotiable. The accountability of another human being waiting for us is a powerful thing.

So what to do?

Well, after getting coached on it, I did two things.

1) Check your health-trio.

Diet, exercise, and sleep.

What are you putting into your body? Is it a lot of processed foods, sugar, and empty carbs? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know you’re not feeding your body well.

I try to go 80/20—80% of what I eat is well-sourced protein and produce, nutrient-dense, and optimized for health rather than pleasure. The other 20% is for me to enjoy life. Pizza, burgers, cheesecake…

When it comes to working out, you don’t have to be a model or an athlete. But you have to do something that gets you sweating every week. 15-minute workouts, going for walks or runs, playing a sport you love…There are simple and enjoyable ways to move your body. You’ll feel better and will eventually start looking better.

I highly recommend the app FitBod; it’s the reason I’m in shape. Hiring a personal trainer is also great. But if you want to start small you can just find a friend who you can go on walks or runs with.

Finally, how many hours of sleep do you get each night?

Sleep is often the first thing people sacrifice and it’s arguably the most important medicine we can take. The good news is there are minimal side effects and it’s free.

97% of adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Not consistently doing so leads to increases in anxiety, cravings, and avoidance. It also decreases motivation, focus, and happiness levels.

Sleep trackers are incredibly useful. I recommend the app SleepCycle or the Whoop strap.

If you’re putting garbage into your body, sitting still every day, and sleeping poorly…you’re obviously going to be struggling to get organized. That’s like driving a car with all the warning lights on. Take care of the machine that is your body.

2) Break everything down.

Take all your personal and professional projects, and chunk them into their simplest, easiest, clearest steps. This is something we should do every week.

James Clear said, “Most people think they lack discipline when they really lack clarity.”

The most common reason we procrastinate is that our tasks are unclear. When things are ambiguous they seem much more difficult than they actually are. We have to really flex our problem-solving muscles.

Or we could just take the time to make things clearer.

Last week, I wrote out all my “projects.”

  1. car stuff

  2. start posting podcast clips again

  3. declutter office and room

  4. finish first draft of book

Nice and simple, eh? Nein.

For weeks, I would put things like “take care of car stuff” on my calendar. Then when it came time to do it, my brain would go, “What the hell does that even mean? What’s step one?”

And that’s the key. Can you break down whatever you need to do into the next three actionable steps?

For me, “car stuff” became “call the title office, go get the emissions tested, and go to Home Depot for screws to put on the front license plate.”

Ah, much clearer. That all seems manageable.

When our brains need to take more steps to sift through the fog, they become much more likely to throw in the towel.

So this morning, with my health trio in check, and with my projects broken down, I feel much more prepared to get things done this week.

How do you combat overwhelm? Email me and let me know.

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