Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s what to do

17 January, 2018 14 comments

Do you ever have those days where your to-do list is as long as your arm. When you have deadlines looming and you don’t know what to do first?  On those days I get knots in my stomach… that feeling of utter dread of being out of control and feeling like I’m drowning…

Today was one of those days. To be honest it crept up on me out of nowhere.

I’d just come out of a really long meeting and sat down at my desk. I looked at my to-do list and all the emails that I had yet to answer and realised that I had deadlines that I had to meet within the next few days. That’s when the stomach churning started!

My desk was hidden under a mound of paper work and I was struggling to get to my keyboard through the mess… It was at this point I gave myself a good talking to, enough was enough. I had no choice but to meet my deadlines and I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so I decided it was time to take control of the situation.

Here’s how I got back on track:

1. Organise the paper work

When you can’t even get to the keyboard you know you’ve reached rock bottom! This is when the humble paper clip comes into its own… I pinned together all the papers that were related to a specific topic. These were the ones that I needed to keep. Notes scribbled on post-its were transferred to a notebook and the rest of the paper went in the bin. Sometimes you have to be ruthless.

2. Make a to do list of urgent tasks

My to-do list had grown to immense proportions and included tasks for the month, never mind the day! So I made a new list in my diary of those tasks that had to be done this week, with their deadlines.

3. Prioritise

Next to each deadline I wrote down how long I thought each task was going to take. This allowed me to plan my time more effectively and to allocate the appropriate the length of time to each task.

At this stage of my organising, I had already started to feel more in control. I think the panic sets in when you have lost control. As soon as things were put into some sort of order, it all felt so much more manageable.

4. Do the quick wins

Here’s where I probably differ from most people. I chose to do those tasks first that would only take no longer than an hour to complete. 2-3 of these completed and ticked off makes me feel like I’m really progressing and the weight really does lift at this point.

5. Move your mobile as far way from yourself as you can bare

Lets face it, your mobile is too much of a distraction. Every notification, every time the screen lights up, you just can’t help but check the reason why.

Move it away where you can’t see it or hear it.

6. Ask your colleagues/ family not to disturb you

Be honest with your colleagues/ family. Tell them you have work that has to be completed and you’d appreciate their support by not disturbing you and tell them how long you’re going to be unavailable.


So after organising myself you’re probably wondering how I got on?

Well I’ve done all the ‘quick wins’ and one of the major projects. I’ve still got 2 more large tasks that I need to finish by the end of the week. I know what needs to be done, and how long its going to take me and my stomach feels fine about it.

Plus – I can now actually see my keyboard! 🙂



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Melanie 18 January, 2018 - 4:43 pm

These are really great tips! I love the idea of completing quick wins first, that could be great for me.

Holly 18 January, 2018 - 4:46 pm

Great tips! I always find having a clear workspace really helps too! And even better when it’s quiet and Im not disturbed 🙂

Lucy 18 January, 2018 - 6:17 pm

Keeping a clear workspace doesn’t come easy to me! Its something that Im working on continuously!

Ashley 18 January, 2018 - 5:11 pm

I love the idea of making a note as to how long you thought each task was going to take, that is a great way to set priorities and would be a great way to let my family know an approximate of how much time i will be needing before I can focus back on them! I am really loving your blog posts! 🙂

Lucy 18 January, 2018 - 6:16 pm

Thank you Ashley!

Susannah 18 January, 2018 - 5:13 pm

Really good advice! I totally agree about the to do list. I write down only what HAS to happen, then slowly work on that and try to let everything else go!

Doreen 18 January, 2018 - 6:44 pm

Great tips! Yeah, a messy desk can overwhelming. Organising and prioritising helps a great deal

Sydney 19 January, 2018 - 3:42 am

I probably should work on focusing on quick wins that’d probably help my stress levels a ton!

Toni 19 January, 2018 - 5:15 am

Great tips! I definitely need to get organized this year! I’m a huge list maker and I love the idea of putting timeframes into place to help drive productivity!

Arielle Joy 19 January, 2018 - 5:02 pm

Great tips, thank you for sharing! Sometimes the simple things are what helps make the difference. I love making to-do lists and getting a few of the small items checked off first help put me in a productive mindset to tackle the larger one!

Rachel 19 January, 2018 - 11:12 pm

Those are great tips. When my phone lights up, it’s so distracting! Even if I don’t pick it up, it was still long enough for me to lose some momentum

Hebah 24 January, 2018 - 10:28 pm

Some really useful tips! The phone one in particular is so important (though so hard to actually do!)

Ashley 24 January, 2018 - 10:46 pm

This is very useful information! I am currently a college student trying to stay on top of everything and those are great tips!

Lucy 29 January, 2018 - 8:09 pm

Happy to have helped. Good luck at college Ashley.


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