What to do when you’re overwhelmed


You’ve got too much to do. Too many ideas. Too many thoughts bouncing around in your head. You’re feeling anxious, confused, defeated, overwhelmed.

One of the best things you can do to gain some relief and clarity about what to do is to get everything out of your head and onto paper.

Grab a sheet or your favorite note app and do a brain dump. Write down every task, idea, and worry. Write quickly and don’t stop until your brain is empty.

When you’re done, you should feel a bit better. A little lighter, more centered.

What now? Take the rest of the day off. Go do something fun and life-affirming. Your list will be there when you return.

If you can’t do that, at least resist the urge to study and prioritize your list. That’s likely to make things worse.

Instead, read through the list quickly and choose (underline, star, circle) no more than three things that jump out at you. Things that are urgent or important and calling to you to get done.

Once you’ve done that, write down those three things on another list and put the first list away. Then, deal with those three things.

If they’re tasks, do them. If they’re decisions, decide them. If they’re problems, work on them, and continue doing that until you’re done or you have completed these three things or taken them as far as you can go.

Then, celebrate. You’ve re-established control and taken care of some important things. Pick up your list again and choose what’s next.

If “get more clients” is one of your three things, start here