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You’ve just been fired from your job, your spouse has just died, you’re in the middle of a divorce, your life has been turned upside down and the only thing you can think about is all the things you need to do.

The more you think about them the bigger your headache becomes. It’s easier to do nothing and sit on the sidelines. You might even feel stuck.

Stop and take a breath.

When your life is turned upside down and you feel like you’re in total chaos, stop. Stop what you’re doing and take stock of all of the things that are pulling you in different directions.

Here’s a secret I’ll let you in on: You can’t do everything at once. Some things you’re just going to have to put on the back burner. You’re IQ has dropped many points and your brain just isn’t working as well as you want.

The best thing to do is breathe. Yes, I’m serious about this. When you’re in a chaotic state of mind you’ll stop breathing. You’re brain isn’t getting enough oxygen. Breathing is a good place to start.

Look at what you need to do versus what others want.

Chaos often produces lots of conflicting needs. If your life partner has just died you’ll have funeral arrangements to think about, children wanting things, dealing with the legal ramifications, and of course money that you’re going to need to live on.

Face it; you’re not going to be able to do all of these things at once. You’re going to have to learn to say no and not yet. Both will help you gain a measure of control around your life. Isn’t that what you want?

This is a time for reflection.

When your world has been turned upside down you’re going to want to either immediately start doing things or you’re going to want to do absolutely nothing. Taking some time for yourself and reflecting on what’s important in your life is an important step.

Once you start reflecting ask yourself why whatever it is you’re focusing on is important. That answer can help you realize what you need to do versus what others want you to do. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

Be mindful about your options.

I like to think about emergencies in four different ways. The four ways are:

  • Urgent and Important - Things you probably should think about.
  • Important and not urgent - A place to use the word not yet.
  • Not important but urgent - This is someone else’s wish. It’s a great place to use the word no.
  • Not important and not urgent - Someone wants you to do something and they aren’t in a rush. Another time to use not yet.


You’ll probably find that very few things are urgent and important. They might seem that way. If you spend a little time thinking about them you’ll find that most can be put off. That’s exactly what you should do.

Find someone you can trust.

It’s not always easy to figure out which are important and which can be put off. Finding someone you can talk with about urgency and importance is a good idea. You want your thinking partner to mostly ask questions. After they understand your motivations they might come up with an idea or two that’s useful.

The key here is to find someone you can trust. This advice is important for you and can help you manage the chaos you’re feeling around you.

We think that when you feel that chaos is all around you should enter what we call the decision free zone. We have a workbook that can help you focus on the urgent and important. To get your copy of this workbook, click not the button below.

Get your decision free zone workbook

Topics: decision process, Change, disaster plans

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