Do you ever have one of those days?
You know - when you have so much to do that you actually become paralyzed by the feeling of overwhelm.
Instead of getting things done - you end up doing nothing.
It's time to put an end to that.
If you are anything like me - you probably have a ton of random things on your to do list.
Life moves fast - which is a good thing.
But when you are juggling lots of balls, things start falling through the cracks.
This is a sign that it is time to step back, take stock, and figure out how best to use those 24 hours each day that you are given.
In my own little corner of the world this is what is happening:
- I almost bought a house which would have meant a move was in our future - but instead we are going to remodel the kitchen which means lots of decisions and planning instead.
- My kids activities are taking up much of my time
- This blog is growing fast and I am enjoying it - but lots to do
- I hosted a huge family gathering and have another coming up
- Paperwork is piling up
- and so on and so on and so on.
But you don't need to add my to do list to your already busy day.
What you want to do is take control of your own.
Use this strategy to pull it all together and methodically figure out what to do next.
Related Post: How to Get Organized - Focus on These 3 Core Areas
1. Make a List of Your Open Projects
Here's the gist - you can't get it done, if you don't know what it is.
So making a list is key.
First, let's define a project.
A project can be anything you have going on that goes beyond 1 task.
Paying bills is a project.
Planning Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday trip is a project.
Taking on a kitchen remodel (that's me!) is a project.
Cleaning out your car is a project.
You get the idea.
I used to think of projects as sort of a DIY thing - like when you decide to make something or do something out of the ordinary.
All the everyday stuff like cleaning, errands, and paperwork were all what I considered to be "everyday life".
If it has more than 1 task, it's a project.
If it takes more than a few minutes, it's a project.
So, make a list of all those things that you need to do that are weighing you down.
Related Post: Conquer Time Management and Master Your Life
Where to Make Your Project List
Don't overthink this.
You can use a fancy app or just plain pen and paper - just make sure you have easy access to it and that you will remember to check it often.
I prefer the old fashioned pen and paper method because I can hold it, feel it, look at it, and jot down a thought whenever it pops into my head.
Time for a brain dump.
Take all those "Oh yeah, I have to do that ..." ideas that are cluttering up your mind and get them out of your head and put them on paper (or virtual paper).
Just Create Your List - Nothing More
Remember, this step in conquering your overwhelm is just about creating a list of all the projects that you have going on in your life.
The to-do list will come next.
So, don't jump ahead - or guess what?
You will start to get overwhelmed all over again.
Have fun with it - and take your time writing everything down.
2. Prioritize Your Projects
Now that you have your list of open projects all listed out, your mind should feel a little lighter.
Am I right?
Now, don't make the mistake of stopping here.
Prioritize all those projects.
Simply number them in the order that they need to happen and assign a due date to the ones that are time sensitive.
If the project is not time sensitive - create a self imposed due date, so that you have a goal as to when you want to get it done.
Be sure to add the due dates to your LifePlanner or online calendar.
3. Create an Action Plan
Go through the project list that you created and identify 3 projects that you want or need to start working on right now.
Break each of these projects into smaller baby steps.
Figure out when you will do each of these small steps and add them to your calendar.
Now TAKE ACTION!
Make sure you stick to your schedule so that you will complete your project by it's deadline.
It's All About Making Your Tasks Achievable
If you break your to do list down into bite sized pieces, then the big projects are not so overwhelming.
This process gives you more control over your time and at the end of each day you will have a solid sense of accomplishment.