How To Stay Focused When Your Life Is A Chaos

Spring is often a time of intense excitation for many people. For example I like to “de-cluterize”  my closets and my computer or re-evaluate my business strategy. Probably mother nature makes us feel that way, showing us so much exuberance with beautiful flowers and birds singing everywhere.

It is also a very chaotic time for most expatriates who are going to relocate to another country or going back “home”. If you are moving to an unknown place, you have probably spent a lot of time and energy already to search information, connect with people you don’t know who are living or has lived in your new country. Maybe you have also to make plans to sell your current house, cars, appliances(if you don’t have the same voltage), worried about your kids’ well-being and schools, started house hunting etc.

The number of things to think about when you plan a move is a Herculean task  and you better be well prepared and organized.

When you are in transition, no matter if it is for a new job, a new house or a new country, you have to deal with a lot of stress that will prevent you to focus and  get the right things done.

Here are some tips to help you achieve your goals while enjoying your life when you are in transition:

1-Dealing with uncertainty 

When we deal with any change we have many worries and many “what If” type of questions that trigger a lot of anxiety. What if I don’t like the people in my new job ?, What if I cannot sell my house ? What if I don’t like my new country ? it is hard to focus when we are constantly worrying.

What you can do:

    • Accept that the decision you have made is the right one and do not regret it as there is no turn back
    • Let go the obsession to control everything.The only certainty we have, is that life is unpredictable, no matter how prepared we are.
    • Try to notice when you get those worries kicking
    • Identify a coping strategy like taking a break and go walking outside or write down your feelings and thoughts in a journal, talk to your friends or simply do nothing and think about a good moment of your life.

2-Keeping  Your Routine

Everyday,  you have to keep your life as usual plus add on the top all the logistics and deal with unplanned events such as waiting for a visa or finalizing your new job contract. You will experienced periods of high excitation when you are into action followed by periods of uncertainty that are really testing your patience and your morale when things are not going the way you think.

What you can do: 

    • Having rituals or daily habits helps stay focused.
    • You can choose specific days of the week to do certain activities that you need to do anyway like picking the kids at school, grocery shopping, going to the gym etc. Put those activities at a fix time in your weekly calendar as much as you can so you don’t waste your time on planning.
    • Be realistic  and conservative about the time you need, adjust your pace like for a marathon you cannot be always in an emergency mode otherwise you will get burnout.
    • Take 2 daily breaks of 30 minutes minimum for unplugging and relaxing

3-Stay Motivated : Make a “done list”

Getting things done give you a sense of control and helps you manage your stress.

What you can do: 

    • Finish everyday by revising what you have accomplished during the last 24 hours or last week or since you started working on your project. You will realize you have done much more than you think, including things that were not planned!

Your Turn : What do you do to stay focused while in transition ?

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About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in Executive Coaching, expatriates, Life coaching, stress management, Time Management, Well being, Work-life Balance and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How To Stay Focused When Your Life Is A Chaos

  1. Hi Anne, what a creative idea to have a “done list”! I guess it’s similar to people who add things to their list to cross off immediately. I am interested in whether you have any additional advice for people having trouble “letting go of the obsession to control anything”. I think we all know that those who obsess about control will almost definitely having trouble letting go!

    • Hi Mi, I agree there are some people who are anxious by nature and cannot stand the idea of making a mistake and cannot accept a certain amount of uncertainty. I have noticed this traits often goes with poor self-esteem. There are various quick self-help stress control techniques you can learn such as deep breathing, guided meditation with relaxing music (download free podcast from You can combine with aromatherapy (using essential oils to reinforce the relaxation), avoid fatty food before going to bed, eat slowly and be conscious about what you are eating, avoid excessive amount of caffeine or tobacco and alcohol, practice walking and many specific exercises such as Pilates or Yoga. That is the subject of a all new post but these techniques are just band-aids. If the person experiences overwhelming and paralyzing anxiety or panic attacks, she needs to seek professional help such as a clinical psychologist. If the stress is temporary because of a big change in your life then a coach may help as well.

  2. Hi Anne – the thing I kept in mind when I’ve moved is “that it will happen” – there will be a start, middle and end no matter what I do or don’t do. This has been as you say about letting go of control. I found that as long as I had contributed what I could to being able to start life up as quickly as possible on the other side i.e ensuring things to go where going to appear in the right room/place; things I didn’t need where being left/recycled/rehomed; 2 sets of lists and copies of documents in 2 files (home leaving/ new home) I felt okay about the chaos!

    And of course don’t let go of where you are now before the move – keep routines going for the kids especially and ensure to find time in the chaos to be with your friends before departure….just in case none of it happens (but that’s another blog isn’t it?!)

  3. Alex Marie says:

    These tips sound like they would work well even for people who are not having a large life change, but for everyday stresses as well. Sometimes we just need to breathe and be comfortable in the decisions we make. Thanks for the great post Anne!

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