5 Deceptively Simple Ways To Get Into Action When You're Stuck

This article is the second of a series of three articles on how to overcome stress, ditch anxiety and get into action.  Part 1 dealt with triaging stress and getting clarity.  Part 3 will be all about resetting stress.

When you are stressed and overwhelmed, taking action is where its at.

You can't just get busy...that leads to more overwhelm.  You have to find clarity on what is important.  This allows you to clear out the stress and start moving.

However, those causes of your stress won't go away until you take action and do something about them.  Also, you can't just think your way out of stress.  You have to DO something, even if that is sitting to meditate or taking a walk to clear your head.

So, how do you get into action and not just get overwhelmed again?  Here are a few things to bear in mind…

Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction

This is a truism from my old coach, Christine Kane. Most of us are control freaks and perfectionists in our own way and we want our output to be perfect. This can stop us from getting started.


Instead, take any action that gets you moving and course correct along the way, rather than trying to get it right first time. Let yourself off the hook and accept that your first attempt may not be as good as you would like. It is possibly/probably good enough though.


In writing, it is generally accepted that the first draft will be rubbish. It is a lot easier to get the second draft done when the first draft is completed.


One foot in front of the other

Remember the 'one thing/next right action/chunk it down perspective' from the previous article? Now is the time to take that very first, very small, very easy step…and ONLY that step. Do that step until it is complete AND NOTHING ELSE.  Then do the very next step.


This is important. You might think that the baby steps are too easy and be tempted to try to do something bigger or to multitask.


This is like trying to run before you can walk.


Baby steps will build momentum immediately. Also, the sense of achievement you gain will be much better than setting yourself up for overwhelm again.

Saying yes to some things means saying no to others

We can think that this is about saying no to other people…and it is.


Yet, we have to realise that in order to say yes to certain things, we have to say no to ourselves on other things. Other tasks. Other people. Limiting/negative mindsets.


It can be a powerful practice to actually say to yourself out loud or in writing, In order to say yes to…, I am saying no to…”.


Get support…and use it in the right way

No person is an island and it helps to be able to ask for help and support. This is definitely the case if other people can actually take part of the overwhelm off our hands.


Sometimes just being able to talk something through with a friend or colleague can help. While venting to your friend/colleague can feel therapeutic though, it actually rarely helps you to feel better.


Instead, ask your friend/colleague to help you problem solve, get creative and get perspective. Often they won’t even have to say much…just having someone to listen will unleash your creative juices. Yet, they may give you the very idea of thought that unlocks everything for you.


Make meetings count

It is almost a sad fact that most people in the workplace are resigned to their time being sucked up by too many meetings. Also, too many meetings are simply unproductive and unnecessary.


Unfortunately, this is not going to change anytime soon.


If meetings have to happen, make sure that you know the goal/output of the meeting and the reason you are being asked to attend. If you are unclear why you have been invited, challenge the meeting owner as to what value they are expecting you to bring.


If you are the meeting owner, try an 'Agile Scrum' type meeting…5–15 minutes and standing up. People never want to stand for a long time when meeting and it is remarkable how soon business is concluded when the time frame is short.

Over to you!

Clarity and action are the things that tackle the problems of stress and overwhelm.  This can help you to be productive again do more of the great work that you are here to do.  It is important to go at the pace that is right for you as well.

However, it is important to tackle the impact of the stress and overwhelm as well.  That is part of what is contributing to MORE stress and overwhelm and it can become a vicious cycle if you are not careful.  

So, in the final post in this series, we will be looking at what you can do to reset stress and bring some calm back. See you next time!

Leave a comment below and tell us how you get back into action when you are stuck!