How do you accomplish your to-dos when you’re overwhelmed?
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Like no matter how much you get done, the list just keeps growing.
And somehow you’re still just not making progress?
Maybe you’re drowning in thoughts of “if only I could get this done” or wondering “how can I do this all?”
Does your success feel like it’s waiting for you somewhere at the end of your to-dos list?
You’re not alone! Most of us are trying to do too much, in too little time. But, there’s a better way!
It’s time to take a serious look at how you’re making your to-dos list and talk about how you can actually accomplish your to-dos.
I Have Too Much To Do
Are you overwhelmed by the immensity of what you are trying to accomplish? Perhaps you wonder how anyone else does it?
Like seriously, can someone please tell me how some can work every day, promote their brand on social, have their marketing lined up, sales pages on fleek (are people still saying “fleek?” – no time to find out), eating healthy and staying fit, oh and they look great (yes, yes I do Insta-stack you).
I just cannot keep up, I can’t keep up with the slang of the day or even the to-dos of the day.
I’ve been feeling overwhelmed… with everything feeling too much, too big and just running away from me.
Like I’m barreling down the stairs with my arms full of things that are falling just out of my grasp. Starting to even feel like I’m just a fold of limbs at the bottom of the stairs, with everything I’m hoping to work towards piled on top of me.
So, what do you do when you have too much to do?
Anytime my goals feel out of control, and my to-dos start drowning me or I start feeling overwhelmed day-to-day, I know I need to STOP what I’m doing because it’s just not working anymore.
I need to CHANGE it up and RESET my routines and change my habits surrounding slaying my goals.
And ground zero for slaying your goals is your daily to-dos.
It doesn’t get any more micro than that. If you aren’t making progress in your now, you are not making progress at all.
This is a play-by-play, behind the scenes look at how I went from “AH, how can I do this?” to exhale, “YAH, I can do this!”
👉🏽 RELATED POST: 10 Habits that Teach You How to Be Successful
How to Accomplish Your To-Dos
Step #1: Stop, Drop and Breathe
Just stop what you’re doing, because if you are overwhelmed then something isn’t working.
Why are you overwhelmed?
Are you just being busy thinking you’re making progress?
Your priorities are out of whack, you’re taking on too much, you’re not being productive or maybe you’re just wasting time.
Like, just stop! Trust me, everything won’t fall apart if you don’t “work” on it for one day. Doing for the sake of doing and feeling like you’re getting shit done (when you’re not), is a waste of your time and energy.
It’s so easy to get caught up on the daily to-do list but lose sight of your goals, of your mission.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: 15 Best Productivity Tips at Work
Step #2: Pick Your #1 Priority
Which area of your life is a priority for you right now?
You need to decide what you need to focus on.
Is it your business or blog? Your personal relationships? Your child or spouse?
Decide and then stop beating yourself up about not being able to focus on everything. Your priority isn’t forever, you’ve just decided what it is right now, and maybe right after.
You cannot prioritize everything because you won’t do anything well. It’s impossible to multitask your focus or your time. Sure, you can try to, but you’ll crash and burn or be crushed by overwhelming like how I’ve been feeling.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How to Set Your Priorities
Also, rank your other priorities that you will focus on after you’ve settled or accomplished this one.
Personally, I cannot build my blog, crush it at social media, run my side-business helping other -preneurs, clean my house, run a photography business, have a social life, have a dating life (that’s in itself is a job) and look good.
Which is why I look like a hobo with a laptop (movie rights pending). Don’t kid yourself, something always has to give.
Step #3: Make a “Wish” List
Open a new document or grab a blank sheet of paper and write down everything you feel like you need to get done. Don’t leave anything out, it’ll just rattle around in your mind. Put it on paper instead.
If we’re being honest most of the time our to-do list is more of a wish list anyway.
We get overwhelmed by our “to-do lists” because it has everything on there including:
- things we have to get done (or there will be consequences),
- reminders (so we don’t forget),
- activities we do daily (our routines and habits),
- our schedule (booked appointments) and
- on top of all of this, our hopes and dreams.
Once you’ve started writing you can see how your to-do list can easily become inflated and co-opted by just every thought and activity we need to and would like to do. The perfect place for your wish list is your daily journal or bullet journal.
Understanding the difference between a to-do and a wish is key to sorting the overwhelm. More on that in the next step.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How to Use the Eisenhower Matrix
Step #4: Carve Out Your To-Do List
Take your wish list or print it out, grab a red pen or the highlighter tool and get trimming! Carve away the wish, the reminders to expose your true to-do list that serves your #1 priority. You can add later beside anything that will be your next priority.
If your above-decided focus isn’t enough to help you decide what should stay or be cut, use the following questions to evaluate each task.
- What’s important? What’s urgent? Keep, what’s both.
- What can you do later (next month, the month after, next year)?
- Does it matter if you do this? Like will anyone even notice if you don’t? What will happen if you don’t? Nothing? Then don’t do it.
- Is this a make it or break it task?
- Why do you want to do this? Is it for vanity or necessity?
- What has a due date or a must be done before a date or there will be consequences date?
Step #5: Set Your Timeline + Schedule
You know your priority (yes, singular) and your to-dos, so what’s your timeline?
Set a timeframe for your priority.
For example, if you’re like me it’s your blog: my priority is being consistent with my content and automating my social media. Next week, I’ll focus on affiliate marketing.
Then, create a weekly schedule for your to-dos, assigning one or two tasks (at the most) to each day. If you don’t have time to work on your to-dos every day, that’s okay! Pick at least TWO times each week to commit to your to-dos.
On top of this, there are the tasks that must be done weekly or once a month, like publish a new post and emailing you or bookkeeping and backing up my laptop.
For monthly tasks or appointments, set reminders in your calendar app to clear up your to-do list.
👉🏽RELATED POST: How to Prioritize Your Time at Work and Home
Your goal is to create a routine! Commitments that are habitual will become second nature to you.
For example, every day at noon I track my stats, I don’t even think about it anymore, I literally never forget, I just do it.
Another example, every Sunday I write my weekly newsletter. I don’t think about it, I just do it. It’s just what I do!
HOW EXACTLY? You can use a whiteboard + post-its like me, or a planner or even something like Trello or Asana to keep your to-dos on schedule. Sometimes I use all three! It just depends on what you need.
Step #6: Start with Unstoppable Focus
Don’t get distracted!
I repeat, DO NOT get distracted.
I know how it goes, the minute you commit to something everyone and their mom comes crawling out of the woodwork asking for help. Offering you a new job, the next big thing maybe plans for trips and other fun stuff.
Avoid any shiny pennies too! Stick to what you’re working on, it will work out if you work now. You’ll have other bright ideas but ignore the urge to chase that new shiny penny. Shine the penny you have right now.
Stay committed to your #1 priority. Make sure you’ve scheduled the time each week (try to stick to the same time), and you’ve set reminders so pay attention to them!
Do you still feel like you have to much to do?
If you get started and it still feels too much, then cut back and/or extend your timeline. Don’t be afraid to make changes.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How to Quickly Beat Overwhelm with Lazy Goals
Beat the Overwhelm to Conquer Your To-Do List
The key to defeating overwhelm and overcoming the feeling like you just don’t have enough time is focusing solely on one priority at a time.
I’m sorry to say this, but multitasking is a lie and often the reason why we feel like we’re drowning or buried in “doing stuff.” Do one thing well at a time.
It’s the same with priorities, just make a choice.
Accomplish Your To-Dos with the Workbook
It’s time to finally defeat the overwhelm of having too much to do.
It’s not that there isn’t enough time, it’s that you aren’t using your time and energy with intention. Start with what’s important, and do your best to ignore everything else.
You’ll get the rest or you won’t, but at least you will accomplish what’s most important to you.
We can’t make progress towards achieving your goals if we’re running, all over the place in every direction.
Choose your direction, then crush every task on your path to success.
How do you accomplish your to-do list?