Today was just one of those days. I had a million and one things to do, and every time I mentally crossed one thing off my list, I remembered approximately three more. I was bouncing around from one task to another yet I continued to feel more and more overwhelmed as I went, because the things I had to do seemed endless and my time was not.
Since I'm a very task-oriented person, I'm not too easily overwhelmed but when I cross that line, it's hard to come back. Thankfully, I've learned a few techniques that help me take a step back and slowly work up to the finish line of getting everything done that I need to. So for all the overworked, over-busy, and simply overwhelmed...here are four easy things you can do!
1) Give yourself 2 minutes to breathe. Even if you have ten things to do, you can spare two minutes. Take that time and collect your thoughts. Don't think about what you have to do, just breathe and think about something positive - how great the weather is, the fun things you have planned for the weekend, or anything else. This will help re-center you and give you a minute to wind down instead of up.
2) Make a list of everything you need to do. Just write it all down at once. At this point, you may start to feel overwhelmed again, but just push past that feeling and get all your thoughts down on paper. Your list may be shorter or longer than you thought, but at least it's all in one place. This way, you won't keep coming up with more and more things you have to do while you're working hard on other stuff - it's all out of your head and written down.
3) Prioritize. Easier said than done, right? Here is my simplest way to prioritize - after I make my entire list, I write "T" next to the items that need to get done today. Then just tell yourself, "This is all I have to get done today. Everything else can wait until tomorrow if it doesn't get done."
4) Start knocking out tasks one by one. Begin with the things you need to get done today, and start out with a task that will be quick and easy to cross off. Soon enough, you'll be on a roll. Once you've finished everything you need to do for the day, take a quick break to reward yourself, then get started on tomorrow's tasks. You're now in the 'bonus round' and everything you get done at this point will be exciting instead of draining!
Try it out and let me know if it works for you. And since I do still get overwhelmed from time to time, leave a comment if you have a different technique that may help me or someone else. Now get working on whatever it is you still have to do today!