How to Eat an Elephant - [website] Email Print
Published: 23rd of Sep 2021 by: Shona Potgieter

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by your to-do list? Like you were in total control and then suddenly there is a mountain of work in front of you, a million things that must be done and it feels like somehow you have to do in all at once?

Stop, pause, take a breath. Often, we get so overwhelmed that we struggle to look at the task at hand rationally. I know, because I am the same way. Stress does that, it makes all the different little mole-hills in front of us look like one big mountain.

So, what can you do? Well, you can start by approaching it the same way you would eat an elephant... One bite at a time. One step at a time.

Step one: Breathe, relax, manage your stress you are feeling. This will help you get a clearer perspective about the tasks or challenges in front of you.

Step two: Break it down into a prioritized to-do list. A combination of urgent and important gets priority. From there you can use any combination of planning tools and soft skills to help you reach the goals. We find that even if you are using small self-motivational tips and tricks like picking a low hanging fruit just to get the go forward you need, you'll soon find that maybe the mountain, or elephant, wasn't that big to start with...

Step three: Just start. When we're overwhelmed by something, we often tend to procrastinate. But just start, take that first step. It's also known as biting the head of the frog... And if we continue with these analogies it seems we may soon be wiping out the entire wildlife population of the earth... Definitely not our intention, to the contrary that is another part of the valuable step 3. Start with the uncomfortable now so that you can reach the goal of possibly taking that away weekend reconnecting with nature, sooner rather than later.

A big part of feeling overwhelmed boils down to having good stress management skills, do not let stress get the upper hand. There are many useful tools to help with stress management, some of them are just simply fun to use... Like for example the squish technique. This is as easy as looking at the cause of the stress, whether it be a long to-do list or a computer that is to slow. Close one eye and bring your right hand up to eye level. Look at the source of the stress between the gap between your thumb and index finger... Now close the gap, go on... Squish that stress... Do 4 box breaths and do it again... This time literally feel the pleasure of squishing that stress away. Childish? Yes! Did it make you smile though? Now take a 3-minute break and whilst you are walking around and stretching, bring yourself back to task one on your urgent and important list and ignore all interruptions.

At Staff training we offer an amazing Stress Management course that will empower you with the knowledge, tools and tips to get you through your stressful and busy periods, successfully! Join us, get your whole team involved- you'll see and feel the benefits instantly!

Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.

Email us at for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660

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