In the previous post, How To Step Into An Abundance Mindset In Midlife That Benefits You Every Single Time, I talked about having an abundance mindset. I wanted to continue on the mindset topic and talk about how being aware of your mindset can help you stay out of midlife overwhelm completely.
I'll be talking about the lower levels of focus and concentration that we experience in midlife, and then I'm going to leave you with one really important question that you can ask yourself. This helps you get perspective, set your priorities and manage your energy levels better and more efficiently.
Our focus is affected as we age. A lack of concentration can come from a number of things, including poor sleep, which seems to be an ongoing issue in midlife.
And we've all walked into the room and forgotten why we went in there. It doesn't mean you have Alzheimer's or dementia. It just means you're getting older.
Granted, there are structural changes taking place in our brains as we age. This means it's going to take us a little longer to absorb and process new information, learn new things and remember the new information that we just learned.
The one area where I've noticed that this lack of focus affects me greatly is overwhelm. I go into overwhelm a lot faster than I used to.
There are a few ways to deal with overwhelm; let me give you the simple answer first.
The simple answer to overwhelm is to get things out of your head. Write everything down so it feels more manageable. It doesn't feel nearly as big and scary as it did when it was just floating around in your head — all those details, thoughts and things to do.
Once it's on paper and organized, you can relax. It's always a relief to have it living somewhere besides your brain.
That's a simple answer. But let me give you a different way to look at the whole situation. This is one of the best questions that I've come up with that stops overwhelm in its tracks. Simply asking myself this question helps me see things more realistically and helps me keep my emotions in check. The question is:
Is this a 100% task?
Basically, you're asking yourself if you need to put 100% effort into the activity. For me, just asking the question means I'm going to get a better perspective on things.
Understanding how much energy I need to put into this project or activity lets me prioritize it accurately. That way I'm not putting too much or too little importance on it. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it's just right.
Once I understand the level of energy and importance that it requires, I can relax. I can get my emotions in line, and I can stop overwhelm in its tracks.
When I was trying to figure out why this worked so well, I had to consider the way I used to think when I was younger. Back then, I thought I had to do everything at 100%, no matter what. A lot of this had to do with the fact that I was brought up with a strong work ethic.
I'm blessed to have a strong work ethic but now that I'm in midlife, I've realized I'm experienced enough to know what needs 100% of my energy and what doesn't.
I know when I can pull back a bit and still achieve the same results. The big thing is that I have to stop long enough to evaluate and to ask myself the question, "Is this a 100% task? "
And it's the same thing with you. You've done enough in your life to know things. You know a lot of stuff at work. You've probably mastered your career. You've gone through so many experiences that you can successfully "wing it" if something comes up.
If you're at home and you're taking care of the grandkids, you've mastered that too because you've done it before. You know the basics of how to keep these children alive, right? Even though today is a whole different ballgame than some of the stuff that we dealt with when we were younger.
No matter what you're doing, if you've done it for a while you can find a shortcut that doesn't compromise your integrity or the level of excellence that you're providing.
That's one of the great things about being experienced at life. You have experience under your belt that will let you perform at 75% and still create wonderful results. The only person who's going to know the difference is you. No one else will notice. They're just going to be happy with the results you created.
To be clear, I'm not encouraging mediocrity in what you do. I'm simply saying that by this age, it's quite possible to achieve the same level of quality with a little less effort on your part.
Because everything doesn't need 100%. Everything doesn't need the extra mile. Sometimes good enough is more than enough.
So consider this next time you're about to go into overwhelm. Just ask yourself, "Is this a 100% task?" Once you start answering the question and evaluating it for where you are at this moment in your life, everything else is going to fall into place pretty easily.