Mar 072011
 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed because you have too much to do, it’s time to learn how to manage time effectively! These time management tips are for people who are so stressed, swamped and overwhelmed that they can’t seem to accomplish anything at all.

Believe it or not, it’s possible to get more done by doing less — and that’s what these tips are all about.

Before the tips, a quip:

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” ~ Lin Yu Tang.

Life is full of demands, distractions, and deadlines; some are legitimate and some contrived.  It’s easy to get so caught up in the dizzying list of things we think we should be doing that we lose sight of what’s really important. If you feel like you’ve lost focus in your busy world, read The Importance Of Living by Lin Yu Tang.

And, here are five time management tips to help with feelings of stress and being overwhelmed…

How to Manage Time Effectively When You Feel Overwhelmed

A growing number of people are recognizing the benefits of stepping off the treadmill in favor of a simpler life.  In addition to the obvious benefits of living a calmer, healthier, less stressful, and more peaceful life, many have been amazed to find that by doing less they truly are able to accomplish more.

The following tips don’t just help when you feel overwhelmed because you have too much to do. They’ll help you simplify your life and manage your time so you can effectively accomplish things that are really important to you.

1. Set clear goals. It’s impossible to ensure that you’ll reach your destination if you don’t know where you want to go.  The first, and most important, step in simplifying your life and getting more done is deciding what’s truly important to you.  Once you’re clear on your values and goals, deciding how to allocate your time and other resources becomes much easier.

2. Learn to let go of what’s not important. Keep in mind that most tasks can be delegated, deferred, or dropped altogether – especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed because you have too much to do!  Letting go of those things that don’t support your goals, or that aren’t otherwise necessary to support you and your loved ones, frees time and energy to focus on those things and people that matter most. To manage your time effectively, you need to prioritize and make choices.

3. Take microsteps. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by the enormity of a task when we look at the entire project all at once.  Virtually any project can be broken down into smaller, more manageable, tasks.  Rather than avoiding the entire project because it seems too big to handle, attack it in tiny steps, doing only as much as you can at any given time.  Whether it’s 5, 10, or 30 minutes at a time, little steps are much better than none.  Once you get started, you may even find that the task isn’t as bad as you thought and you may find that you’re able to spend longer periods of time working on it.  One of the best ways to manage time effectively is to do what you can, when you can.  Congratulate yourself on your progress, knowing that you’re moving closer to achieving your goals.

4. Follow your body’s natural rhythms. Some people have more energy in the morning.  Some prefer to burn the midnight oil.  Figure out your own body’s biorythms.  When do you have the most energy for physical work?  When is your mind most clear?  Rather than fighting your natural rhythms by focusing on the clock, go with the flow.  When you’re feeling overwhelmed, plan the activities of your day so that they align with your energy peaks and valleys.

5. Focus on one project at a time. Everyone has normal, run-of-the-mill activities of daily living that have to be done on a regular basis, like housecleaning and yard work.  Then there are other projects that are infrequent and typically not fun, but nonetheless necessary, like preparing taxes each year or clearing out the attic.  When we procrastinate on these types of projects, they tend to consume a lot of emotional energy.  We often give ourself frequent reminders that they need to be done, and then beat ourselves up for not doing them.  Try to pick one of these projects to work on at a time.  It could be the easiest one or the one that’s crying out the loudest to be done.  Once you pick it, stick with it, even if it’s just one microstep at a time, until you get it done.  Focusing on one project at a time builds momentum and creates a sense of accomplishment because you’re achieving your goals!

If you’ve been living life in the fast lane for a while now, it may take a while to get used to cruising in the slow lane.  However, once you do, you’ll be so glad you did!

If you have any thoughts or questions on how to manage time effectively – especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed – please comment below.

For more time management tips, read Delegating Tasks at Work.

Written by Sydney Tyler Thomas, a writer and small business owner living in Virginia.  She is author of The Joy of Soulful Knitting: Reflections on the Art of the Craft. You can also visit Sydney at her blog, New Calling.

Sydney also wrote How to Declutter Paper Clutter – 8 Home Office Tips for Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals.

About Me

quips tips love relationshipsI'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.

  One Response to “Feeling Overwhelmed, Too Much to Do? How to Manage Time Effectively”

  1. I am encouraged by this article. Thanks!
    CurtissAnn, in recovery from being chronically overwhelmed.

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