Overcome Your Overwhelm

Overcome Your Overwhelm

Have you ever had so much to do that you didn’t know where to begin? Consequently, you didn’t begin. Nothing of importance was accomplished and you woke up the next morning, still overwhelmed by everything you had to get done.  I think we can all see ourselves in that example at one time or another.

There are two theories on how to begin, when there is much to get done.

  1. Start with the big thing. Tackle the hard stuff first, then the rest of it seems relatively easy.
  2. Start with the smallest thing.  Pick something simple and easy to check it off your list. That sense of accomplishment will motivate you to continue.

Personally, I prefer to get the hard things done first. Whichever method you choose to overcome your overwhelm the basic ideas are the same.

Write it down.  I know very few people who can keep everything in their head. I find it much easier to put things on paper. That frees my mind to think of other things and provides a visual cue that I have certain things that need to get done.

Prioritize, and make note of it. Take your list and put numbers to the order you want to complete the tasks. If looking at it like that is too confusing, rewrite it, in the order you wish to complete things.  If you have too many things to do in one day, that’s okay. Depending on what they are or how you choose to prioritize, you could put one major item on each day of the week and then focus on lesser items the rest of the days.  If colors are your thing, you can color code by highlighting the various items, based on priority.  How things are prioritized will be different for each person, based on their personal style and values.

Check it off. Make a check mark, or completely cross out items that have been finished. It gives people a sense of accomplishment to start seeing those items marked off.

Pace yourself. Be realistic with what you can accomplish in a day.  If you have too much to do, split it into more than one day. There is no sense in stressing yourself out over your to do list, start with baby steps. One step at a time.

Relax. Now don’t relax to the point of not getting anything done but go ahead and take breaks upon completion of tasks. When the day is done, stop. Even if the list is not completed. If you prioritized, you have finished the things that HAD to get done. The rest is not as important, so stop. Add it to tomorrow’s list, or rearrange things and move it out a couple days, but do not stress about the little things.

You see? Overcoming your overwhelm is simply a matter of getting started. Okay… here we go!

* If you have an interest in “going deep” on the topic of determining your priorities and overcoming your overwhelm, ask me about my “Make Time Work For You” time management workshop.*