How to cure overwhelm

The project guaranteed to cure your overwhelm

Cure overwhelm

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

Life’s busy.

Crazy busy.

You spend your days rushing madly from one commitment to another and barely have time to breathe.

Then, just as you’re starting to get resentful that people expect too much of you and you never have time to just ‘be’, a window of time opens up in your schedule.

Maybe the school fair is run and done.

Or the footy season’s over.

Or you get injured, so marathon training gets shelved for a few months.

Ah! How nice it is to be able to breathe again.

And you do.

For a second.

But then you get angsty. After all, there’s so much to do, so many people to help and so many opportunities to be taken up.

And now you have time for some of those things.

So you say ‘Yes’ to something new, and before long you’re back on the ‘crazy busy’ treadmill again.

The one where:

  • Your partner gets resentful because you’re constantly distracted and distant and have no time for them.
  • Your kids are wary and tiptoe around you because you’re so irritable and crabby.
  • You hate the world because the planning required to tick every box means your mind is going at 100 miles an hour, even when you’re sleeping. Especially when you’re sleeping.

Happily, I have a cure. A single project that will help break the cycle.

An Infinity Project

This is a concept I got from James Schramko while working with him on his new book, Work Less, Make More. In the chapter where James talks about the importance of building a team to support you in your business, he addresses a common objection:

What about those occasions where I don’t have enough work to keep them occupied?

His answer?

You have an Infinity Project.

One this is not urgent, but it’s always there and always has something to do on it. His business’s infinity project is a niche news website/online hub. That website can never have too many articles, galleries or product reviews. If his team have nothing to work on, they work on adding content to that website.

How will an Infinity Project cure you of overwhelm?

Well, the next time you find yourself with a window of time that’s begging to be filled, instead of saying ‘Yes’ to something someone else wants you to do, say ‘Yes’ to something you want to do.

Your Infinity Project.

It could be writing a book, creating a memory book of your year, crocheting a blanket, working on your garden, something with your kids (a family infinity project!)

It doesn’t really matter what the thing is so long as:

  • It’s something you enjoy doing.
  • There’s no urgency. (i.e. If you get to work on it, great! If you shelve it for a while, no problem!)

Your Infinity Project acts as a filter and makes you more intentional about the things you say ‘Yes’ to. Every time you’re asked to do something, or an opportunity presents itself; you can now ask yourself:

‘Is it worth saying ‘Yes’ to this thing given it will mean saying ‘No’ to working on my infinity project?’

There’s a saying that goes:

Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst.

I reckon an Infinity Project might be just what we all need to ensure we’re not just getting back the time we want, but also using that time in the very best way possible.

So, now, you have just one question to answer:

What’s your Infinity Project?

Tell me in the comments.

Comments 21

  1. Oooooh, I love this idea, Kelly! I will have a think about what my infinity project is in terms of my business but I think for home it’s decluttering. There’s always more to be done! In particular I really love the idea of the Infinity Project being the thing to prevent the over-committing/over-scheduling creeping back in.

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      So funny because the very first thing I thought about as a good infinity project was de-cluttering! But I thought I’d get howled down if I suggested that as something fun. I find it fun, however!

    2. I love the de-cluttering idea. I do feel empowered, like I have more space to breathe, when I accomplish a neater, more organized desk drawer or closet. It can wait if there’s a genuine emergency or higher priority, but the good feeling I get from it keeps me from pushing it too far aside.

  2. This is very similar to David Allen’s Someday/Maybe list. Nothing that goes on this list is ever urgent or time specific, but if you have projects that one day you may like to pursue you can add these to this list. If you ever get a pocket of time then you can look to the list for inspiration of past things that you’d thought you’d like to do.

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      Yes – I like that. Looking to that list to see if there are things you’d rather do more than what someone else is asking of you 🙂

  3. Great idea! I want to write a book for the children, something that explains to them ME. So that they would get to really know me. And I have been pushing it aside to say yes to other things. So, this will be my Infinity Project!

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  4. I second the decluttering idea. That’s an ongoing never ending thing in my house. I’m going to adopt it as my infinity project along with knitting socks or wash cloths. Both of which have no urgency and also require me to be still and the decluttering can be for when I want a project involving movement.
    Love this idea thanks so much for sharing it.
    Cheers Kate

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  5. I love this idea too, I’m going to have a good think about it from a work perspective, for now I think my jungle of a Greek garden is it because it is never ending and it is no hardship to spend an hour or so out in the sunshine.

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  6. Kate and I must be soulmates (or solemates since I love a good pun)! I always have socks with no deadline on the needles and there is generally an area in my house that could stand a good decluttering – often an because it is being taken over by yarn.

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  7. I guess I had an infinity project without even realizing it… Photobooks! I make one for each year for each kid and sometimes I fall behind and then there are times I am able to catch up. And then I also want to go back to pre digital photo days and scan and make photobooks of those too. I will literally be working on that one for INFINITY!

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  8. I know one stitch in crocheting. I’ve used my one stitch to make Moebius Scarflets for myself, my sister, and my sister-in-law. I’ve used my one stitch to make myself a Pussy Hat for the Women’s March (although I made the hat after the fact, because the March inspired me to do so). I haven’t picked up my hook since I began something almost a year ago. The something I began must be an Infinity Project, because I’m really not sure what I’m making. It’s one stitch, though. Just repeated A LOT.

    So I guess I’ll buy one skein of yarn every time there’s a good sale, and start one-stitch-crocheting blankets for family. That’ll take a lifetime, and I won’t need to worry about “fit”.

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  9. This is great to think about as I’m in a place where I have more free time than I ever have had before and I’m very aware of NOT filling it up with the first thing that comes past.

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      Hard to do right? But essential. I found myself a bit bored on the weekend. Weird feeling but I embraced it instead of rushing to fill that time!

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