Avoiding Overwhelm

by | Business, Career Advice, Voice Over


Sometimes it seems like there’s so much to do and remember in running my voiceover and personal business  that occasionally feel like I’m on “overwhelm”. My desk and surrounding space stacks up with paper, files, mail, things to put away, power cords, and an email box that seems to grow like Godzilla overnight.



Skiers are told when if ever buried in an avalanche, they should cup their hands over their mouths to create some breathing space before the snow settles.

I’ve found creating some breathing room is a great place to begin when I begin to feel buried. Sometimes I have so much to do and on my mind and desk , it’s hard to start on anything productive unless I find a central clearing space to get it all together, and figure out what to do!

I believe even the best and well-managed offices occasionally fall prey to this, so I cut myself some slack and dive in.


Create and Manage “The List

It’s been my motto over time to say, without a list, it doesn’t exist. So first I manually “download” everything swirling around my head to my legal pad. I’ve also tried doing this on my computer in a Word doc, but I’ve found for me, writing everything down on my paper list and then crossing them off one by one creates momentum.

TRAF it!

I have a handy system I’ve used for years I learned from a book called , “The Organized Executive” and some new techniques I’ve incorporated from my favorite organizational whiz, Kristine Oller, where I either toss, refer, act or file every item in my path that’s out of place or piling up.


Next, I’ll dedicate a specific time frame to my activities, and “bookending” my days. For example, I’ll be up early each day, and while drinking my coffee, I’ll scan the paper, and pull out articles of significance. I’ll check email. Take my daily 2 mile no excuses walk, shower, read for 30 minutes, eat breakfast then hit my desk by 8:30. I review my “list” and prioritize at lease 3 items that I must get done that day. Then I allow about 15 minutes or so to look at email, and make phone calls, and add things to my list that must get done that day, like auditions, estimates, and more phone calls. Then I shut down email and silence my phone and get to work. I also allow time to visit my favorite social networking sites, for a finite time, say 20 minutes. It’s too easy for me to get lost on the web on things that distract from what I’m striving to accomplish, so I have to be my own disciplinarian!

Breakin’ it up!

A lot of time each day is spent in the recording booth. So I’ll take a breather every 60-90 minutes, stretch and check email, messages, snail mail and respond accordingly.  Often during my breaks, I might just have just the right creative breakthrough while away from the desk and the booth.

At the end of the day, I’ll go over my list, add to it, reorganize and prioritize. Often times I’ll just tear off the old sheet and start a fresh one.  By doing this before bed each night I feel like my brain will be working on the list while I sleep.

Ahhhhhhh! Such a feeling of accomplishment can create a more positive attitude about my living and work space, and an atmosphere in which I can better pursue my personal success.


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