Q: I know people who do more than I do yet don’t seem to get overwhelmed. I feel overwhelmed most of the time, yet I do less than these people. What’s my problem?
A: It’s not how much you do; it’s how you view what you do that determines your overall emotional state with respect to your productivity. People who don’t feel overwhelmed are confident yet also realistic individuals. They’re confident that they can and will accomplish what they set out to do. As a result, they do more than most people and they do it better than most.
How can they be so confident?
Part of it might be successful past experience. The more important factor is that they rationally plan out what they’re going to do ahead of time and they don’t tell themselves it’s the end of the world if they don’t get it all done. They’re ambitious yet also realistic. These two qualities are necessary ingredients for confidence.
If you feel overwhelmed a lot of the time, then you’re doing something wrong. As a short-term measure I recommend you expect less of yourself. This is a short-term intervention only. Delegate or simply shelve as much as you can. Seek to do less, but to do it better. Once you accomplish this, gradually take on more and more in a step-by-step fashion. I know this won’t be feasible in every case, but approximate this principle as much as you possibly can. You’re not lowering the bar. What you’re actually doing is taking a quality over quantity approach to life — with the express purpose of ultimately having more of both.