That school 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.
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 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.
To say I was stressed is an understatement.
I was beginning to wonder how I was possibly going to 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.
(I’ll admit my house was a bit of a disaster during this time, but we’ll just keep that between us.)
These are my little secrets 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 feel more organized and help 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You may find that afterward you feel refreshed and energized after stepping away from your work, not to mention more focused.
How do you stay organized when you are feeling overwhelmed?
If you liked this post you might also want to check out:
- 5 ridiculously simple tips to stay on task
- 7 tips for working from home when you have a small child
- Take control of your inbox with these Google hacks
A version of this post first appeared on A Dish of Daily Life.