The Slingshot Principle: How to Conquer Being Overwhelmed and Too Busy

Wed, Jun 16, 2010

Leadership, Perspective

The Slingshot Principle: How to Conquer Being Overwhelmed and Too Busy

There’s no doubt that in today’s fast paced, information overload society that we can easily find ourselves with a sense of being overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by the amount of things to do, the time to do it in (or lack thereof), balancing wants versus needs, trying to stay up on the latest trends, etc.

Can you relate?

Being overwhelmed can certainly be stressful but there’s a bigger danger. If we aren’t careful it can turn into a sort of paralysis that stops us from moving forward and pursing the life and dreams that we were uniquely created for. We can begin to simply respond to all that is overwhelming us, trying to just make it through, versus proactively creating the life, career and impact we feel called to.

I’m a firm believer that one of the worst enemies to realizing our purpose is the busyness that tries to distract and get in the way.

It’s natural for us all to experience a sense of being overwhelmed from time to time so if you are in a season of it right now, don’t feel alone. There is a way out but we have to first recognize the problem and then take action to solve it.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed or out of balance I turn to my version of The Slingshot Principle. It’s simply a reminder that in order to fly forward, often we need to first pull back. Just like a slingshot, the real power and velocity comes from being stretched and pulled… but in a backwards motion.

It’s that backwards motion that is the hardest direction for us to go but vitally important if we are to create momentum, speed and forward progress.

And by pulling back, I mean taking time to :

  • Slow down.
  • Reflect on the last few days, weeks, months, etc.
  • Assess your current reality, obligations, etc.
  • Revisit your goals.
  • Recognize the gap between where you are to where you want to go and determine what is getting in the way.
  • After reflection and assessment, decide what steps to take to fly forward. You may come to realize that you just needed a simple realignment. You may see that you need to cut some of the things that are making you feel overwhelmed, the things that are not helping you get to where you need to go. They may be “good” but are they “great”?
  • Take action and put things in place to help you better achieve your goals. If cutting things is not an option, spread the load. Delegate and find resources to help you be more productive.
  • Last but not least… Pray for guidance, wisdom and the ability to discern.

What about you? How do you battle being overwhelmed? Does busyness get in your way? What can you do today to pull back a bit so that you can fly forward tomorrow?

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    Daniel Decker is President of Higher Level Group, Inc., a strategic marketing and development firm that helps authors, professional speakers, and organizations who are doing good to expand their influence. LINKS: Follow @DanielDecker on Twitter | Visit the "About" Page | Subscribe to the Blog and get updates via RSS or Email.

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    • Nana

      Funny – I tweeted this about an hour ago:

      nanahg3: I'm being pummelled by emails…can't…get…away… make…it…stop…PLEASE!

      Great post and sage advice! Definitely time to pull back!

    • patriciazell

      Several years ago, while I was teaching high school English full-time, I earned my master's degree through an online program. That workload was overwhelming, but I learned something really valuable–when I had too much to do, I took one step at a time. Focusing on what had to be done at the time went a long way in eliminating stress. I guess, if we want to use the slingshot metaphor, we could say just shoot one stone at a time. Thanks for your post!

    • J.D. Meier

      > in order to fly forward, often we need to first pull back
      Perfect. And I'm a fan of riding the cycles of things and knowing the ups and downs, ebbs and flows.

      • Daniel Decker

        Thanks for stopping by J.D.

    • Joe Boyle

      Great advice!

      Whenever I am overwhelmed with however busy I am, I just take a break. I put my laptop on hibernate, lock up my house, and go for a 5-10 minute walk. If I can't take a walk, I will do some stretches or just sit out on my balcony. I just need some time to let my eyes readjust, brain clear out, and hands rest. It is really helpful!

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