How To Get Out of the Quicksand of Overwhelm
Overwhelm. It’s the pits. And something of a pit.
Your to-do list is endless. And though you work long hours, it’s never enough to catch up.
You can’t stop thinking about work. That panicked feeling in your chest or gut keeps you awake at night.
You feel angry and resentful. Hopeless. Exhausted. Trapped.
Your surroundings are as cluttered as your thoughts and emotions.
You can’t remember the last time you did something nice for yourself. Or the last time you experienced joy in doing your work.
Your relationships are suffering. Maybe your bank account is too. You’re easily irritated. You apologize a lot. You’re also telling more and more little white lies. You worry people will find out you are a fraud.
You are filled with guilt and shame.
• • • • •
If this describes the pit in which you find yourself right now, I don’t need to tell you that you are in a crisis.
Finding yourself in the Quicksand of Overwhelm is an emergency situation.
You probably have been instructed how to respond to many types of emergencies – from first aid to earthquakes and tornados. If you fly with any frequency, I bet you could recite the safety instructions presented before the flight from memory. If your clothing catches fire, I’m sure you know to stop, drop and roll.
But we are not taught how to respond to the emergency of overwhelm.
Most people respond by trying to “get organized,” but that’s like trying to prevent a fire after it has ignited. You can’t improve the way you organize your time and activities or develop better systems for your work or life when you’re busy trying not to drown.
This handbook is that missing set of instructions – the stop, drop and roll – for getting yourself out of overwhelm and back on solid ground.
As with real quicksand, thrashing about will not get you out of this mess, it will only get you more stuck.
You need to move in a specific, slow, deliberate way in order to get yourself onto stable ground.
In this handbook, you get easy-to-follow directions that allow you to effectively wiggle and wriggle your way back to dry land.
This 55-page e-book includes step-by-step instructions – questions and exercises, worksheets and diagrams, suggestions and examples – that walk you through the process of getting out of overwhelm without adding to your overwhelm. Specifically…
- a bit of background about why this is happening and why what you’ve been doing to resolve it hasn’t worked (that’s it for theory – everything else is practical application)
- how to move through your initial response to this situation, so you can stop reacting – that is, thrashing about and sinking deeper – and become more effective and proactive in your actions to get out
- how to regain the energy and perspective you need to think more clearly and creatively and take positive steps
- how to choose the times, places, people and other supports that will help you to remain calm, cool and collected – even when the process becomes challenging
- how to see the differences amongst the tangled mess of seemingly equally urgent tasks and make intelligent choices about what to do when (or even at all)
- how to determine a time-line for getting out of overwhelm that is finite, preserves your flow of income, and doesn’t require superhuman strength and stamina
- how to communicate clearly with others about your exit strategy, and without shame or embarrassment
- how to avoid perfectionism, magical-thinking and other sneaky forms of self-sabotage along the way
- and how to note and apply what you learn from this experience – making it easier to get out of overwhelm next time or avoid it altogether
I’ve had this lingering “I have to do this” list, with all sorts of stuff that wasn’t necessarily time sensitive, but it was hanging there. And I kept thinking “I have to do ALL! THIS! NOW!” and it was jamming me up something awful!
I just went through all the Quicksand stuff over the past few days and wrote up my brain dump, which I’ve done a million times before. At first, I was put off by the task/project consequences cards, but I dutifully filled them in. SO HELPFUL.
I also saw how much actual working time I had. Keeping a Do-Over to three months totally made the difference: I can see that a year long “do over” is just silly, and impossible to work with! When I said “Okay, I’ve only got this much time” I saw what I could cut, and needed to – what was crucial and what wasn’t! – THIS was the element I’ve been missing.
I’ve got my Do-Over list and my time blocks. I know what I need to do. I’ve even scheduled a day off and blocked in breathing room. So I am so very, very grateful for this. – Cathy Yardley, Rock Your Writing
- Will this take a lot of time? I don’t have any time!
At the risk of sounding much-too-much like Dr. Phil, let me ask you this: How’s all that pushing and rushing workin’ for ya?
Keep doing what you are doing and one week from now, you’ll still be in overwhelm. And three months from now, you will have sunk even deeper.
Follow the instructions in this handbook and in less than a week you’ll have at least one leg free of the muck – and feel ten times better than you do now. And in less than three months, you’ll be back on solid ground. Just imagine how great you will feel then.
You didn’t get into your overwhelm overnight and it can’t be resolved overnight either. How long the process takes depends on how deep and how long you have been in your quicksand. But nothing will get any better until you devote some time to changing your approach to this situation.
- It’s not my whole life that’s overwhelming, just one part of it. Will this still work?
This program works whether you are ankle, knee or waist-deep in your Quicksand of Overwhelm – and whether it feels like your whole body is about to be sucked under by everything in your life or it’s just one foot that’s mired in a single project.
- I’ve tried other things to get out of overwhelm and they haven’t helped. What’s different about this program?
First, you’re getting the emergency how-to instead of the prevention how-to instructions.
Again, there’s no point in explaining how to change your diet, include more movement in your life or reduce your stress while you are having a heart attack. This is CPR when you need CPR! Once you’re safe and sound – and ready for it – you can learn how to improve your health and prevent heart disease (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Second, you’re getting compassion and insight instead of butt-kicking tough love.
This is sensitive and sensible advice that addresses the powerful and paralyzing emotions that overwhelm can generate so you can think calmly, clearly and creatively about what to do next – and then take effective action.
- My business/life is a mess! Too big a mess to be helped by a little e-book.
Oh, sweetheart, I know the feeling. It seems like everything needs to be done right this second! and there’s no way that can happen. But it’s not hopeless.
What seems like an impossible tangle really can be solved when you know how to untie the knots and when to just cut the threads.
This little handbook shows you how to see the tasks and projects on your to-do list for what they are so you can make choices about what really needs doing when – choices you can feel comfortable with and confident about. In other words: You can totally do this thing.
- I’m not sure I can do this by myself.
I understand your concern. That’s why the handbook includes ideas and suggestions for bringing other people into this process to help you.
And if, after downloading the handbook and reviewing the program, you know that additional personal guidance from me would be helpful – you will also have the option to book Salon or Studio sessions.
- But I want to get organized now! Do I really have to do this first?
If you are in overwhelm, yes. This is the essential first step.
You wouldn’t rethink your hike while in actual quicksand, would you? No, you’d get the heck outta there first!
Before you can become a Time Disciple, you need to have space for the reflection and experimentation necessary to change the way you organize your time and activities, develop better systems for your work and life – and learn ways to spot and avoid quicksand in the first place. Until you get out of overwhelm, you don’t have that space – and you won’t make lasting progress in your efforts to get organized.
I’m so serious about this I will pay you to get out of overwhelm before you do anything else. Your purchase of this handbook includes a coupon for $27 off my forthcoming home-studies and your next steps: The Way of the Time Disciple and The Time Disciple’s Guide to Finishing.
“This should be required reading for every entrepreneur and, well, every human being. It’s filled with so much smart stuff and so beautifully done. Loving it! THANK YOU.” — Fabeku Fatunmise
I don’t want to add to your overwhelm by making this a difficult decision.
Not only is the handbook priced affordably, it’s a risk-free purchase.
If you follow the step-by-step instructions outlined in How To Get Out of the Quicksand of Overwhelm and don’t get the promised results, I’ll refund your purchase. And if you let me know how you are still struggling, I’ll do my best to point you to other resources that might be more helpful. Because the most important thing is that you find a way out of overwhelm, no matter where that support comes from.
“Completely gorgeous and loaded with helpful smartness.”
– Lisa Baldwin, Zen at Play
Relief is just a click away.
It’s easy to get started. Just grab the rope by clicking the button below.
That will take you to my shopping cart. Once there, click the green “check-out” button and enter your contact info on the following page, then click the green “submit order” button. That will take you to PayPal – but you don’t need a PayPal account to make your purchase. Look for the “Don’t have a PayPal account?” link in the lower right of that page if you prefer to pay with your debit or credit card. Once you complete your payment, click the link provided to return to Third Hand Works.
In addition to your receipts, you will receive an email confirmation from me with details about how to download your new handbook and begin making your way back to dry land. (This should arrive shortly after your purchase – and might end up hiding itself in your junk/spam folder, so check there if that message doesn’t seem to have arrived in a timely fashion.)
Please grab this rope before you sink any deeper!
The sooner you take action to get yourself back onto safe and solid ground, the better.
“I just wanted to say how brilliant, compassionate and helpful the Quicksand book is!! Even though I haven’t applied the principles extensively yet, just knowing I have this as a companion is so reassuring. I can feel it changing me incrementally already. Thank you so much for creating and sharing this.” — M.J., Writer, Philadelphia