Working Effectively When You’re Overwhelmed

By Leo Babauta

I’ve noticed that so many people are feeling overwhelmed, scattered, and stressed — so much so that focus and effective work become incredibly difficult.

So what can we do to be more effective in the midst of this scattered, overwhelmed state?

Today I’m going to share the top three things I do to help myself find focus and effectiveness even when I’m at my most scattered.

The Interstitial Pause

The first thing I recommend is a pause between anything you do – I call it the Interstitial Pause.

Basically, instead of switching from one task to the next, I recommend a pause.

This pause helps us navigate chaotic waters, and helps us to be more intentional about our day.

The Flexible Focus Method

This is a simple, time-tested method for finding effectiveness when things are chaotic:

Refilling Your Capacity

One of the biggest challenges when we’re feeling overwhelmed is that we are often drained and our ability to focus is lowered. We can’t take on hard tasks because we just don’t have the mental energy.

The practice to take on here is committing yourself to making self-care a priority. What do you need to do to get your mental energy where you want it to be in order to be effective and focus? If we can’t get this fundamental thing down, then we can’t create what we want to create in the world.

For me, this means prioritizing:

If I can do those things, then I can be effective and focus on what matters. What would you need to do to get your capacity to the level you need it to be?