5 little tricks to stay organized when you’re feeling overwhelmed

That fundraiser you agreed to co-chair. Cookies you offered to bake for your daughter’s soccer team’s bakesale. Weeks worth of laundry to fold and put away before your in-laws’ imminent arrival in three days.

We’ve all been there.

That place where we feel stretched to the max.

Woman holding her head in frustration

Photo by FireSam!

You feel pulled in multiple directions.

It’s easy to feel like you’re about to come apart at the seams, both emotionally and physically.

I’ve definitely had those times.

Like those two weeks a few years back I had two crafts shows where I was selling my handmade jewelry, one of which was over an hour away; a custom necklace to make; three freelance articles and two guest posts to write; plus my own blog to maintain.

In the midst of it, I also launched The Busy Mom’s Guide to Creativity. At that point, I had been writing and working on for several months.

Not to mention the usual household chores to get done and my (then) almost 2-year-old daughter to watch four days a week.

Related post:7 tips for working from home when you have a small child

To say I was stressed is an understatement.

I wondered how I would possibly get it all done.

Thankfully, after a couple of tense weeks and a few nights where I definitely did not get enough sleep, I managed to survive and magically get everything done.

Well, almost.

(I’ll admit my house was a bit of a disaster during this time, but we’ll just keep that between us.)

I had a few tricks up my sleeve to help me feel calm and centered.

These are my tips for staying organized and on top of everything when I am feeling overwhelmed.

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1. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have an endless to-do list running through your head.

Writing everything down — and I mean everything, including eating! — will help you to clear your mind, free up brain space to actually think, and ensure that you don’t forget anything.

I personally use a combination of Trello and my Decomposition notebook to write down all my to-dos. With Trello, I like that I can easily access them from both my computer and my phone. You can move things around and check them off and see you’ve made, which can be super motivating when you have a lot to do. 

2. Break things down into smaller chunks

When you have a big project to do, it can feel daunting. Where do you even begin?! Instead, take the big project and break it down into smaller to-dos.

Woman sitting in bed writing

For example, Instead of “launch ebook,” I wrote down every single step I needed to take to get me there, from writing blog posts to scheduling social media. It helps to make large, otherwise overwhelming tasks both more manageable and tangible. It also helps you keep track of what you need to do next.

Related post: 5 ridiculously simple tips to stay on task

3. Set deadlines & reminders in your calendar

Use your online calendar to write down deadlines and send you alerts as you approach them so you don’t accidentally forget to do something. Trying to keep things in your head also uses up a lot of mental energy.

Related post :Take control of your inbox with these Google hacks

4. Prioritize

As much as possible, do things in the order that they need to get done, and finish them so that they aren’t hanging over your head. It might mean letting certain things slide, but you only have so many hours in the day.

Personally. I have a bad habit of loading on extra projects when I’m pressed for time. I’m working on adding them to my Trello project list. This wayI remember to do it later and I don’t waste brain energy trying to remember to do it.

Trello projects board

5. Do something to take care of yourself

This may seem strange as a tip for staying organized, but for your brain to properly function it needs some rest. It’s difficult to focus and remember things when you are tired, haven’t had enough to drink or aren’t eating well, or haven’t moved your body. 

Do something that takes you away from your work and is instead about nourishing your mind and body. Here are some some ways to take care of yourself, even if you only have 5-10 minutes. 

You may find that afterward you feel refreshed and energized after stepping away from your work, not to mention more focused.

Did you find this post on staying organized helpful? Pin it for later!

Feeling overwhelmed by everything you have on your plate? Learn how to stay organized at home and in life with these simple little tricks.

Check out these other ORGANIZATION TIPS to help you clear your mind and create space for jewelry making.

A version of this post first appeared on A Dish of Daily Life

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