Managing Self Monday Morning Practice Practice Management

Five steps for getting out of overwhelm

Written by Allison Wolf

Overwhelm can find you anywhere.

I am sitting in my peaceful home office on Salt Spring Island.  The sun is shining.  The garden is full of beautiful flowers.  What could be better?

BUT inside my mind is scrambling.  The beauty around me vanishes under the barrage of my thoughts.

There’s too much.  I feel overwhelmed. There are many projects on the go.  Many emails to answer.  Much administrative work that is become urgent.  Bills that need to be paid.

The list goes on and on while the email continues to pile up.  I can feel the temptation creeping up to run away from it all by escaping to a coffee shop.

I would guess that you have experienced this same thing, and might be experiencing it today.

Here’s the 5 step strategy I will be implementing today to shift out of this state of rising panic and into a sense of appreciation for what I have, and a feeling of being in control or at least at the helm with my  attention where it needs to be.

  1. Breathe.  Pause and breathe.
  2. Do a quick gratitude check in while I continue to breathe slowly and deeply.  What are five things that I have experienced today that I am grateful for?
  3. Drink some water.
  4. Rebuild the command centre.  For me, my command centre is my ongoing project and to do list.  This is where I can get all that stuff referenced above out of my head and into my system.  Once it is down in writing I can then get strategic about where I place my focus.  With it bouncing around in my head I just get overwhelmed and jump from task to task without consideration of where it would be best to put my attention and actions.
  5. Decide what to do next and do it.

Then repeat the steps above as needed.

What do you find most effective for when it all becomes too much?  Send me an email to let me know.

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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