Are you Feeling Overwhelmed? I admitted this to a friend the other day, but I am not a fan of New Years, sure I like the Fresh Start, the chance to regroup, set goals and head in a new direction but in all reality it really stresses me out :) I don’t like the pressure of all my to do lists, all the goals staring me back in the face, in all honesty it can be a little, well, overwhelming at times!
This year my Goal is to Simplify my Life and hopefully that spills over into your life. I thought I would share 5 tips for tackling your to do list when you are Feeling Overwhelmed! These simple tips help me re-focus and get things accomplished.
1. Make a List – I cannot stress to you the importance of Making a list. I am not a list maker by nature, in fact I often joke that my husband used to make me lists when we first got married because I would often forget to do things he had asked me to do. I’ve learned that the more kids I add, and the bigger my kids get that I need to be organized and making lists is the first step in keeping things moving. So when I’m feeling overwhelmed and I’m not sure where to start I make a list! This allows me the chance to prioritize what’s most important rather than just starting with the first thing I see. This Free Printable Daily Planner is a great way to help you get all of your to do list in one place!
2. Cross Something off your list. Once you have a list of everything you need to do. Prioritize! If there is something that can be done tomorrow, Mark it off the list or write it on your calendar for tomorrow. I do this often because I typically think in the mornings that I’m going to accomplish a lot and by noon I’m realizing I didn’t have very realistic expectations, especially with a baby and toddler in tow, so I’m learning to Give Myself Grace and simplify my list. This also helps me to feel less overwhelmed when I realize that Somethings can wait and they just aren’t as important as other items on my list. It also gives me mental margin to allow myself time to think about what’s most important.
Another important reason to mark something off your list is it puts you in control of what is most important and allows you to focus on those items that are most important first. So often we get sidetracked and we forget to do the most important thing first! Once you have eliminated something off your list set your priorities, I simply number my tasks starting with a 1 and working my way through my list till everything has a number.
3. Do Something! If you have 5 minutes, then make a quick phone call and schedule an appointment, If you have 30 minutes tackle the most important thing first. There are a lot of methods of how to accomplish things but regardless you have to start somewhere. One of my absolute favorite books on Time Management is Brian Tracy’s book “Eat that Frog” where he talks about doing the most important thing first, or the thing you are dreading the most first. Once you have accomplished the worst thing on your list for the day (i.e. The Frog you didn’t want to eat) everything else is down hill! You can grab this book on Amazon, it’s one of my favorites that I go back to time and time again!
If you have 10 items on your list and one that you are dreading doing because it’s complicated, it might cause conflict, it’s time consuming that’s the item you will think about constantly until it’s done. It’s also the item you are dreading the most. When you take the time to do that item first then everything else is less overwhelming because you’ve already accomplished the hardest item on your list for the day. You will also have the most energy to devote to a task when you’re just starting out so don’t wait to do the most important item, do it first and everything else after that will be a breeze!
4. Focus on One Task at a Time. This is where I struggle the most, I like to think of myself as an expert Multi-Tasker (I mean I work from home with 3 kids) but the truth is that most of us work better when we focus on one thing at a time, Multi-Tasking isn’t always the best way to accomplish things. Pick one task and FOCUS on that task until it is complete. It might take you twice as long, or three times as long, but finish! There’s nothing better than crossing an item off your list.
It might be helpful to turn off the radio or TV, or try closing your email and focusing on one thing at a time. If you’re doing chores, clean one room at a time and don’t stop till you are finished with that one room. If you are working on a project get started and try to eliminate distractions. If you are working on a larger project divide this list into Sub-Tasks, meaning create mini goals within your larger task and do one of those at a time.
5. Just Say No. Sometimes, you just can’t do everything and no matter how much we try to simplify, there will always be times that you realize you aren’t going to be able to accomplish everything. Give yourself the Grace to say no to somethings, even if it’s last minute. Maybe it’s a play date with friends that you know is just going to crunch your time and take away from other items on your list. Or maybe you need to say no to the PTA or hanging out with your girlfriends. There are often items on our list that we need to eliminate, so don’t be afraid to just say no, in the long run you will be more productive and enjoy living life more than when you are running around constantly pressed for time.
I am a big user of to do lists. Its amazing how much more productive I am when I take the time to hand write a to do list for the day, and like you say – cross it off when you complete it.
I love reminders like this to read. I get overwhelmed a lot and this helps!