In my house, it’s no secret that I’m an overloaded workaholic. Between nurturing my career and family life, taking care of a small farm, and giving our home some semblance of order, I’ve got my work cut out for me. In fact, I’m not sure I’d know how to function if I didn’t have too much to do! I do my best under pressure, even though I’m sure it’ll eventually be the death of me.
However, even I know when enough’s enough and I have too much to do. There are times when I’m overwhelmed with too much to do and I’m stressed and stretched dangerously close to my breaking point.
So, what’s a harried Mama (or Papa) to do when there’s just too much to do? I’m no expert, but here are some simple tips to help you when you feel like you’re being buried under your to-do list…
Recognize You Limits
Are you starting to snap at your family for no reason? Are you exhibiting physical signs of stress, such as headaches, forgetfulness, fatigue? It’s important to recognize when you have too much to do, and when you’re getting overwhelmed. While some stress can actually make you more productive and be a little healthy, too much stress and too much on your plate can and will take its toll on you – usually sooner than you think.
Chances are some things are actually much more important than others. For instance, an upcoming deadline at work is bound to be more important than cleaning and organizing your hall closet. When you find that you have too much to do, tackle the most important items first. Although you may not get absolutely everything done, you’ll feel better when you’ve completed the important projects.
Make To-do Lists Each Day
If you’re like most people who have too much to do, you probably have a to-do list a mile long. That’s actually good, since to-do lists can keep you focused. However, I find it helpful to make a new to-do list each morning. Any tasks that were not done the day before may or may not make it onto the morning’s to-do list, but I don’t feel like such a horrid procrastinator, and I feel like I’m getting a fresh start every day. Purely psychological, but it works.
Break Up Big Tasks
You may feel like you have too much to do when your to-do list consists of several large tasks, and for good reason. Large tasks and projects can seem very overwhelming. To make them more manageable, break up large tasks into several smaller tasks. You can work on these smaller tasks here and there when you have time. Crossing these smaller tasks off your to-do list can also help you actually see your progress and stay motivated.
Make Time for Fun
When you have too much to do, it often helps to take a break and have a little fun! Try adding fun activities to your to-do list or schedule, like going out for ice cream, baking cookies with the kids, or simply taking a bubble bath. This will give you something to look forward to and make your list seem a little less daunting.
Take a Break and Unwind
Sometimes when you have too much to do, the best thing you can do for yourself is…nothing. It may seem a little counterproductive, but it can actually be just what the doctor ordered. Take a few moments to be free of your obligations each day. Listen to music, get lost in a book, go for a walk, or just enjoy the peace and quiet in bubble bath. Taking a break from your hectic life and unwinding can help clear your mind and calm you, making you more productive.
What do you do when you have too much to do?