5 steps to dealing with overwhelm from your to do list

You know that feeling when you’ve got far too much to do?

When you don’t know where to start, and you feel completely and utterly overwhelmed?

That feeling when you take one look at your to do list and your fight or flight response well and truly kicks in?

You might get annoyed about the fact there’s too much to do, panic and want to run away, or freeze and feel paralysed not knowing where to start.

The thing is that even though you might be feeling this way, at some point you need to do something about it.

So, what’s the answer?

Check out the following 5 steps…

Step 1 – Remove what you don’t have to do.

Go down your list and remove anything that you really don’t have to do. These tasks are nice to have’s, a someday task, but certainly not a this day task. You can put these on another list if you want, but get them off your main one.

Step 2 – See what you can delegate

Go through your list, and circle any task that has to be done, but just not by you, and delegate it. Yes, you might want to do it. Yes you might think and feel that it’s quicker if you do it yourself, but in reality it’s not a good use of your time, energy, and brain power, so pass them to someone else.

Step 3 – Put them in order of importance

Go through your list and write down when each task needs to be done. Now, what I’m talking about here is when do they actually, really have to be done. Not when you’d like to have them done by so they’re no longer on your list.

Step 4 – Put them in order of deadline

Re-write your list into a much cleaner version (with steps 1 and 2 taken off) and with all the important tasks in order of deadline.

Step 5 – Get started on task #1

Focus on the first task first, and don’t stop until it’s finished. You’ll feel much better once something is crossed off your list.

BONUS – If you need to, shut yourself off so you can focus on these tasks. This might mean closing your office door for a while. It might mean re-locating to a quiet room or it might mean turning off your phone for a while. If you need to, communicate to your team or the people around you what you’re doing, and get cracking.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on dealing with overwhelm, feel free to leave a comment or share with someone who might need to hear this too.

2 Comments

  1. Emma

    Really like these 5 steps as a way of focusing and filtering- have tried it and made me feel like I’d regained control

    Reply
  2. barbaranixon

    That’s great Emma. Really pleased it’s working for you 🙂

    Reply

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