If you’re like most people I know, you have a to-do list a mile long. If you’ve ever felt out of control, over loaded, stressed out, totally fried, lost, overwhelmed, then this might help.
Here are 3 steps and the 3 questions that get you out of overwhelm fast. This is a simple process that helps you figure out where where to start and what to do next. It puts you back in control of your to-do list. Click Here to Download My Templates
Step 1: The Brain Dump
Your brain is for processing not for storage. Everything that’s in your head has to come out. Your brain knows it’s not great at storage, and it worries it’s going to forget something. Just the process of writing it down, so your brain knows that it won’t fall through the cracks can help you relax. Write down everything that needs to get done. Anything that’s worrying you goes on the list.
Question 1: “What is making me feel overwhelmed?”
Is it the sheer number of undone items? Have you over-committed yourself? Is there an unhealthy relationship, boundary, or financial issue that needs to be addressed? Do you feel like you don’t have the personal or financial resources to handle what you’ve got going on? Are you distracted by projects and tasks that aren’t the most important things you should be doing? Are you trying to do it by yourself? Do you have conflicting emotions keeping you from moving forward? Are you too disorganized? Is a task too complicated? Be specific. What is making you feel overwhelmed? Because if you can name it, you can address it.
Step 2: Organize & Prioritize
I use a sheet I designed that is divided in 4 columns. To get a copy of it Click Here. 3 columns are for large projects and 1 is for personal/miscellaneous items. Then I look through the Brain Dump and group the tasks into their corresponding columns.
Once that’s done, prioritize. Of your 3 projects, which is the most important? Star it, because that’s what you need to do first. Under that project, what is the next most important thing you need to do? Mark it with a one. Then what’s the next most important thing you need to do? Put a 2 next to it. Next most important? Put a 3. Then, look at the tasks in all the categories. What’s next most important thing for you to do? 4. Do this for 1-3 other tasks.
Now on your sheet you’ve got a star marking your most important project, 3 tasks under that numbered 1 through 3, and then three other tasks numbered 4-6.
Question 2: Given the reality of the situation, what is the next most important thing for me to do?
I like saying, “the reality of the situation,” because it puts me in problem solving mode. Sometimes it’s not easy to get things done for any number of reasons: sick family, technology problems, etc. Whatever challenges are facing you ask, “Given that reality, what is the next most important thing for me to do??”
Reality check! What are your life priorities? Family? Health? Career advancement? Is your action plan consistent with your life values? If your action plan leaves you no time or energy for what’s most important to you, you’re always going to feel overwhelmed, because you’re not living YOUR life. You’re living what someone else thinks your life should be. Do any of the tasks on your list need to be declined? Can any of these tasks be delegated? Do you have something on your to-do list that is not in your control? If so, take if off. Keep it on brain dump list, but not on your action plan. Realistically, how long is this going to take you? What can you expect to get done today?
Step 3: Do
Nothing cures overwhelm like massive action. Starting with your most important project, do your number 1 most important task. Continue tackling the NEXT most important task on your action plan. If you feel stuck with any task ask, “What’s the next most important thing I can do to move this task forward?”
Question 3: How will I reward or recognize the accomplishments I had today?
One of the reasons people feel overwhelmed is because they never feel like they’ve made any progress. It’s just one long slog after another, and it’s exhausting. When you recognize your hard work, when you look back and say, “Yes, I did that. Look at how much I got done. Look at how far I’ve come! Good for you!” Then you realize you’re not under a pile of garbage, but you’re walking up the mountain enjoying the view each step of the way.
Hope That Helps
Hope you found that helpful. Click the button below to download my templates with the 3 steps and 3 Questions that will help you take control of your to-do list!
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