The Real Reason You Feel Overwhelmed


This is a guest post by Jim Woods. Jim is a status-quo defying writer and coach who helps others get unstuck so they can live a better story. You can connect with him on Twitter. His next ebook, with Erik Fisher,is now available. Hit The Mark will help you improve your focus, boost your energy, and make the most of your time.

A busy schedule can overwhelm you or even stop you from doing what you want to do.

You might want to write a book, pursue a new career, start a business, or make some other changes but your schedule screams, “No—you’re too busy!”

The truth is you have time—you just choose to spend your time in other areas.

Where are You Spending Your Time?

A full time job and being a parent can easily take 60 hours of time each week, but you still have some margin left over.

The following pie chart breaks down hours in the week and makes two assumptions:

Working 60 hours a week (red portion).
Sleeping 9 hours each night or 63 hours a week (green portion).


The chart doesn’t take into consideration time needed for your commute, eating or showering, but these can easily fit into the sleeping or working times. The blue portion reveals over 45 hours are available—over 26% of the week—to use however you’d like.

You Do Have Time

You really have time available—the underlying problem is a lack of energy.

How are you refilling your energy levels? Both mental and physical energy must be restored for you to be effective.

You can use your free time to replenish yourself or to drain yourself.

Draining activities:

  • Spending time online fixating on what others are doing and making yourself jealous, worried, or stressed.
  • Watching television when you are bored.
  • Worrying about things you can’t control.
  • Interacting with negative people.

Replenishing activities:

  • Going for a walk outside.
  • Playing with your kids.
  • Physical exercise.
  • Interacting with positive people.
  • Reading an uplifting book.

How you are spending your free time? Are you using it to drain or refill your energy levels? Very rarely does time spent on the couch, looking at a screen give you the energy you need.

When you boost your energy levels, you completely change your attitude and how you feel. In turn, you can reenergize your entire life.

Be Intentional With Your Time

If this sounds impossible, keep in mind there are some seasons in life which are more hectic than others. If you are the parent of a newborn, it likely is not time to write the great American novel in a month.

Doing one hour of work when you feel energetic is often better than five hours of work when you are exhausted. Gauge your energy and use it accordingly. Don’t take your energy for granted, instead be intentional with how you use it.

Question: Where can you boost your energy to be more productive? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

17 thoughts on “The Real Reason You Feel Overwhelmed

  1. So true! I often have a desire to do great things but lack the energy. Now I know I should try to focus on rebuilding my energy stores so I can work or play! Thanks!

  2. How did you figure out which activities drained energy? Most of them seem right to me except for TV. That should be highly dependent on what one is watching, just like the reading activity listed in the replenishing activities list. I would think a comedy or empowering story on TV is better than most books because you aren’t tasking your mental faculties as much while still feeling uplifted.

    1. Carlin, great question! I think most of it is your attitude and being self-aware. I specifically mention TV when you are bored because at those times you are not intentionally resting rather just sitting there killing time. Being intentional, watching one show because you enjoy it versus watching a bunch of shows and basically killing an entire evening or day is very different.

  3. A somewhat simplistic list. Physical activity can be good, also draining. As an example, weeding vs. planting new flowers/vegetable plants. One is a task, the other is a positive thing. But both need to be done. But weeding is drudgery. I suppose that it is your mindset, so if you try and view weeding as a good thing, then you have more “stomach” for it.
    So the thing is to try and be positive about anything you need to do.
    It reminds me of a moment in the “Mary Tyler Moore Show”. Mary is depressed about her life. Ted Baxter asks her how she starts her day. She says, well she gets up, makes coffee, takes a shower, etc.
    Baxter (in his most brilliant hour) tells her, “No. You GET UP!!! You MAKE COFFEE! You TAKE A SHOWER!!!!”
    So that is my take on this advice….so I will GET UP tomorrow morning, MAKE COFFEE, and PULL THOSE WEEDS!!!

    1. There are activities we all dread aren’t there! A lot of it will depend from person to person for sure and a lot of it has to do with mindset and attitude. One other thing to consider is if a person is normally physically active, exercise will give you an energy burst–but if you rarely exercise then it will absolutely drain you. (Totally going to remind myself of this to work out more!)

  4. It’s interesting that you never directly say social media is one of the causes of this. I feel like in this day and age it could be attributed to large portions of negative mental health. Thanks for sharing though!

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