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My top 5 productivity tips for when youre feeling overwhelmed
My top 5 productivity tips for when youre feeling overwhelmed. Most of us at some point have experienced overwhelm. We need to start and finish our to-do list, sort the kids, do the shopping, tidy the house, work, feed people, you get the drift!
Sometimes we just feel there is too much to do and on occasion, this feeling leads us to do nothing. We will literally do anything to avoid doing what we are supposed to be doing. Then we get to the end of the day and feel awful because we know tomorrow is going to be worse because of our avoidance of things today.
Don’t despair! We can tackle this in baby steps and stop that feeling of overwhelm taking over.
Here are 5 things I do, as soon as I realise I’m overwhelmed because of what I need to get done that day.
1. Do a brain dump
This step shouldn’t take long. I get a blank piece of paper and a pen, I sit at the table and write down everything that I am stressing about. Everything goes on this list, things from posting a letter right through to bottoming the bathroom!
It doesn’t have to be neat, or pretty, only you will see this (unless you write a blog post about it and take a photo of it! hehehe)
If you use this method as an ongoing way to stay organised and as well as your to-do list, you can add things to it as the month goes on. I actually now use a notebook to note down all my braindumps and work from there, as I like the layout.
2. Circle the most important jobs you need to get done asap
Take a different colour if you like or use the same one and circle the 3 most important things that you just have to get done that day.
Digital – obviously if you prefer to do your brain dump on your PC or phone then by all means do, I just prefer paper. But you need to do it in a way that is most familiar to you.
These steps shouldn’t take you long. I’ve made this mistake before spending hours on these steps to avoid what I should be doing, don’t fall into that trap!
Once you have completed one of the tasks that you had circled cross it off so you know it’s done.
3. Start your circled tasks
Now, this can be the most difficult step to take.
Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique? I use a version of it.
The Pomodoro Technique
Choose the task you want to tackle.
Set an alarm for 25 mins.
Work with no distractions for 25 minutes.
Note where you stopped.
Take a 5 minute break. (timed if you need to keep yourself in check)
After the 5 minute break, reset the timer and work again for 25 mins.
Once you have completed 4 Pomodoro cycles take a longer break of between 20-30mins.
If I’m only feeling slightly overwhelmed I follow the Pomodoro Technique closely.
If I’m feeling massively overwhelmed and just can’t seem to get started on anything at all.
I tell myself, work for just 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes are up, if I`m really still not feeling it after the 15 minutes, I can change tasks and start the 15 minutes again until I manage to settle on something.
Most of the time, once I start doing something and get 15 minutes done; I`m happy to carry on. My biggest stumbling block is just getting started.
4. Time Blocking
I’ve actually started using time blocking most days, it takes a little getting used to. Knowing how long to block our for a certain task, but I try to over calculate, then if I finish a task early, I can start the next one early.
Originally I used this technique just on days when I felt overwhelmed.
For this, I do use my Google Calander. It’s easy and quick enough to set up, don’t let yourself get distracted and spend an age setting it up, just jump in, over calculate if needed and crack on.
5. Don’t aim for perfect!
I heard this phrase first from one of my favourite bloggers Emma Drew “progress, not perfection” and I love it.
Aiming for perfection all the time won’t get you anywhere and will eventually just lead you to be miserable and overwhelmed.
Trust me I’ve been there, things I did were never good enough, they weren’t perfect, so I`d do them again and then spend even more time tweaking them so I could say “that’s perfect”. Except most of the time I never actually managed to finish the task, it would never happen, because I was striving to be perfect all the time! We can only do our best, and so long as we are trying our best that’s all that matters.
I get all my jobs and tasks completed now, still to a good standard, I just cut out the crippling perfection side of myself.
Do you think these tips will help you the next time you`re feeling overwhelmed? Do you tackle being overwhelmed differently? Or do you manage your time and jobs so you never feel overwhelmed? I really love to know! Please drop me a comment and let me know.