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7 Strategies For Working Dads to Eliminate Overwhelm

7 Strategies For Working Dads to Eliminate Overwhelm

As a working dad, you never have enough time:

  • Demands at work
  • Responsibilities at home
  • Needing time to yourself

No matter what you do, how long you work, or what you say "no" to, there are never enough hours in the day to fit everything in.

With two kids in elementary school and a full-time job, I constantly look for ways to boost my productivity. No matter how many apps I download or how I organize my tasks, I still feel overwhelmed.

On top of this, I know I am not the best version of myself for my family. When I'm stressed, my family doesn’t get the best part of me - they get the leftovers.

The good news: I know of 7 strategies to help cure overwhelm when it comes creeping in.

Let's dig into these tactics and see if you’d find any of them useful:

Brain Dump

This is a way to get everything out of your head and onto paper. You start by listing everything on your mind. No matter how big or small, write it down.

You are not solving - just writing.

After you get everything out of your head, see how much lighter you feel just seeing everything on paper.

I do this regularly. It helps me to clear the clutter in my mind with everything going on so I can see exactly what my brain is thinking about.

Once it's on paper, you can identify the real priorities.

"Dump your thoughts onto paper and watch them turn from chaos into clarity."

Identify Priorities

You feel overloaded because you’re being pulled in too many different directions. But you already know: you can't do everything.

The key to combat this is to identify what your priorities are. Identifying your priorities helps to eliminate the internal struggle of which thing you need to work on next.

Knowing your current priority is kicking off the new project and not responding to emails is freeing. Or knowing you don't need to answer the call from a colleague right now because you're focused on your daughter's piano recital.

Clear priorities allow you to say "no" to the things that aren't at the top of your list. It also helps to keep you focused on what is in front of you.

"The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones."
Brandon Sanderson

Prioritize Family Time

Speaking of priorities, you need to prioritize time with those people most important to you: your family.

Having clear boundaries between your work time and family time drastically reduces the stress you'll experience. You can't be everything to everyone. So choose who you are going to prioritize at the given time.

When you're watching a family movie: enjoy the movie.
When you're wrestling with your kids: be there wrestling.
When you're out on a date with your wife: be engaged on the date.

Be present with your family in the time you've prioritized for them.

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."
Mother Teresa

Progress over Perfection

You're never going to do everything right.

Some days you'll be the best version of yourself. Others, you'll be the worst. That's ok.

Focus on trying to improve each day.

I have days where I feel like I'm the best dad in the world! Others, I am pretty sure my kids would disown me if they could.

My goal is to acknowledge the bad days, but always focus on improving.

I'm never going to be perfect and neither will you.

Focus on progress and not perfection.

“Progress not perfection… you can’t be perfect everything… but you can gain progress on a daily basis.”
Court McGee

Schedule Downtime

Just like you schedule time with the people who are a priority in your life, you need to schedule downtime for you.

This can look like:
• Taking a walk
• Going to the gym
• Mediating outside
•Practicing stillness
• Reading a fun book
• Journaling thoughts
• Engaging in a hobby
• Writing down what you're grateful for

The list of options is endless.

But when you're overwhelmed, you don't take time for yourself because you have so much to do.

You have so many demands and people needing things from you. The problem is you can't pour from an empty cup.

Take time to fill your cup up so you can be the best version of yourself.

“Self-care is your fuel… Whatever the road ahead or the path you've taken, self-care is what keeps your motor running and your wheels turning.” Melissa Steginus

List Your Wins

Something parents need to do more often is remember all their wins.

It's easier to go from one task to the next without remembering what you've just accomplished. Taking a few minutes to recognize your wins helps motivate you to keep moving forward.

This can be as easy as:
• Take 2 minutes to write down what went well for you this last week
• Celebrate getting your kids out the door on time
• Journal about one win you had from today

When you take time to list your wins (no matter how small), you will feel accomplished.

“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.”
Alek Wek

Be Flexible

No matter how much you try to plan, plans change when you have a family.

Your kid gets sick the day you have a presentation
Your pet has an accident right when your big meeting starts
You want to relax after work, but your kids remind you that you'd wrestle with them tonight

Every parent has had days like this.

While the easy path is to get frustrated or annoyed, it's never the right path.

• You only get 18 years with your kids
• You'll miss the times when they were home sick
• Some day they won't want you to wrestle anymore

Be flexible.

"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach" Tony Robbins

Feeling overwhelmed as a working parent is normal. But you don't need to stay there.

Try one (or all) of these tactics to see what works for you the next time you're feeling stressed and overloaded:

1. Brain Dump
2. Identify Priorities
3. Prioritize Family Time
4. Progress Over Perfection
5. Schedule Downtime
6. List Your Wins
7. Be Flexible

I know they will help you be the best version of yourself.

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