Alright, friends. It’s no secret that I’ve been neglecting this little space of mine on the internet for the past month. Not only have I been experiencing a slight lack of motivation in the writing department, I’ve been trying to deal with the overwhelm that comes from juggling a full-time job, blogging, grad school, and having a personal life.
I never expected it to be easy to manage all of these things at once, but I also didn’t expect to feel so overwhelmed that I’d feel the need to crawl up in a ball and ignore all of my responsibilities.
I’m sure you’ve been in or are currently in a similar situation where things just keep piling up, and you have absolutely no idea where to start…so you just put it all off and procrastinate.
And what happens when you procrastinate? You end up completely frustrated with yourself.
Even though I know all of this combined is getting me closer to where I’m supposed to be in life (as unsure as I am about where exactly that is anyway), it can be really tricky to maintain perspective and avoid getting caught up in the details when things aren’t going smoothly.
Though I’m still learning how to balance everything myself and I haven’t perfected the art (let’s be real, there is no such thing as the perfect balance), I’ve found that there are some methods that can help us stay on top when it all becomes too much.
5 Ways To Deal When You Have Too Much To Do
1. Write Down Every Little Thing
Instead of letting things just float around your head and trying to convince yourself that you’ll remember them all, grab a piece of paper and just brain dump everything onto it. Big projects, small errands – write down every little thing that comes to mind.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll either a) realize you don’t actually have as much to do as you thought, or b) you’ll see that some things just aren’t as important compared to other things.
2. Break Bigger Tasks Up
If you have something on your list such as ‘write a blog post’, think about how you can break down the larger project into smaller steps. For example, you probably need to brainstorm some ideas and come up with an outline before you can actually start working on a blog post.
Even if this seems like you’re adding more to your to-do list, breaking projects up means they’re going to be much more manageable, and you’ll feel like you’re making progress by checking even one little thing off.
3. Figure Out How Much Focus Is Needed
After you’ve done your brain dump of tasks, take a look at how much focus you think each item will require. Tasks such as writing can usually be done in chunks over the course of the week, some tasks like watching a lecture might need your full attention for an hour or so, and things like responding to emails are best done in one quick session to get them over with (and probably don’t take that long). Here’s how I look at time distribution:
- Multiple sessions – writing, data entry
- Block of time – lectures, brainstorming, homework
- One quick swoop – emails, phone calls, clean up
4. Prioritize & Combine Similar Tasks
When you take a look at your (possibly) endless list, start by seeing if there’s anything you can say no to or delegate to someone else. Maybe there’s something that just doesn’t seem to be necessary anymore once you’ve actually taken a look at what’s on your plate. Get rid of that shit. Do it.
Next, ask yourself what the top 3 most important projects or tasks are on your list. You may be thinking, ‘Well everything is important, Catherine’ but girllll, you need to start prioritizing if anything’s ever gonna get done.
It also helps to think about which items fall under the same category or can be done in the same state of mind (aka when you need to focus intensely vs. when you can have music on in the background)? Are there any smaller sets of tasks that you can combine into an hour and knock them all out?
5. Schedule It and/or Get To Work
For any tasks that can be broken up into chunks, choose a few days of the week and pencil them in. If it’s something that needs a big hunk of your time and total concentration, make sure you fit it into your schedule and treat it like an appointment. Lastly, if it’s something like responding to emails and general admin work, save it for a time when you aren’t feeling creative (usually in the afternoon) and get it out of the way.
And sometimes planning stuff takes away from time you should actually just be gettin’ shit done, so make sure you aren’t using your planner as a procrastination tool. The secret of getting ahead is to just get started, yo!
How do you stay sane when life gets overwhelming? Share any tips you have below!
Gosh, this post came just at the right time! I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately (so much that I don’t even notice the passing of days) so I get how you are feeling. Don’t feel pressured to write posts, we will wait for you :) Choosing the top 3 things to do every day is a wonderful tip! It makes you feel better at the end of the day if you get those tasks done, even if the rest are still pending :D Thank you so much for this post! Good luck with everything you have to do!
Endless Dreams | Bloglovin
Writing down every little thing is a method I use too! I don’t know how anybody survives without a planner/agenda :O I’ve been pretty busy as well. I haven’t been too active in the blogosphere, I haven’t done as much independent reading as I’d like, nor have I gotten as much sleep as I’d like… I like what you said about figuring out how much focus is needed. I think I’ve been doing some of that without even really noticing what I’m doing. For example, since I haven’t been keeping up with my Bloglovin’ feed, I’ve made it a thing to check it at least once every day, and click through to read the three most recent posts so that I’m not entirely out of it, designating just enough time so that I can put my main focus in my schoolwork -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s
Getting it all laid out is 100% the best way (although I’m a fan of my digital to do list with the Wunderlist app so I’ll always have it with me instead of writing it down). It was great to hear from you after the hiatus and I hope you feel a little less overwhelmed soon!
This was great and super helpful! Thank you
Super helpful Catherine! I def think writing it all down helps. I tend to feel more productive when I see it on a list. Happy you’re back to blogging after a little break!
Ah girl I am right there with you this week. Just reading this post made me want to curl in a ball and shirk my responsibilities. Haha! But I am a sucker for crossing anything and everything off a to-do list. Can’t agree more with that tip! Good luck to you, chica!
Also. Love that planner.
This post could not have come at a better time in my life, when I feel like it’s somewhat spiraling out of control! The problem is I used to make to-do lists for everything and it kept me organized and sane, but for some reason I stopped doing that the past few weeks and it’s caused me to become a crazy person. Thanks for these tips!
loved this post! :) I do a lot of this myself but it is always nice to hear other people’s perspectives. :)
I love this blog so much, your advices are so good! Thank you so much for the inspiration and the tips, I’ve been looking forward creating my own blog for so long, do you have any idea or suggestion for me?
These are fantastic tips Catherine! I find breaking up tasks to be really important to, it really helps when you’re feeling overwhelmed! xxxxx
This is so helpful, Catherine! I love reading these kind of tips. I’m a full-time freelance designer and sometimes I accidentally overbook myself. Overwhelm happens to the best of us! x
So glad to hear you found it helpful, Candace! xo
Loved this post! I’m definitely feeling this. I’m a first year teacher and I just started an Etsy shop and my blog, as well as busy times in my personal life. (I may have been crazy to think this was all such a good idea to try at one time…) Thanks for the ideas, I do a lot of them but its helpful to remember the brain dump and prioritizing.
Haha you are definitely doing a lot, Kristen! Glad this post was helpful xo
Great post! Thank you!