Everyone gets overwhelmed at some point in their life. It could be a daunting task load for work or school, household chores piling up, or events that affect your personal life. The fact is that we have all felt the pounding pressure of being overwhelmed.
One of the richest men in the world, Elon Musk, has even stated that he struggles with the pressure. He once tweeted about his personal life, stating that “the reality is great highs, terrible lows, and unrelenting stress. Don’t think people want to hear about the last two.” Musk owns and operates a multitude of multimillion- and billion-dollar companies. But despite his riches, Musk cannot escape feeling overwhelmed.
It’s important to note that he explicitly states that he tries not to show this side of himself. Many other well-known celebrities and influencers are the same way. Overwhelming feelings affect everyone, but it’s how we cope that separates us.
That is why Newsletter Pro CEO Shaun Buck developed his own system to avoid this feeling.
Before diving into your task load, it’s essential to write out a list of all of the items that need to be completed for the day. Categorize each task on the list to make them more manageable and, in turn, less stressful. To keep from getting overwhelmed, Buck categorizes his tasks into the following categories to ensure no task gets left behind.
These are the most important tasks that need to be completed in the near future. The keyword here is important. Too often, people focus solely on urgent tasks rather than important ones. This can leave you feeling unaccomplished at the end of the day.
We live in a world of deadlines. You are going to have urgent tasks nearly every day, but you should not let them make you feel overwhelmed. Make sure you work on your important tasks throughout the day to feel more accomplished and avoid the work piling up in the future.
You may have a task that repeats itself every day, week, or month. This task should never bog you down. The key to keeping your repetitive tasks contained is to create a system that allows you to better manage your workload.
Documenting the process and creating calendar invites are essential to ensure tasks are not missed or forgotten. Creating a system and setting a reminder can help ease your mind and release any unnecessary stress.
List any problems that need to be solved to keep you from being overwhelmed. This can be as simple as fixing a work error or as difficult as resolving something that will prevent you from completing upcoming work. These problems are sometimes urgent but can also just be annoying things that have bothered you during a previous assignment.
Note that the items you put on your list do not need to be strictly work-related. If you’ve noticed something in your personal life or home you want to fix, make sure it goes on the list. You don’t want to eliminate work stress only for it to be replaced by personal stress.
This last section is more or less going to be your catch-all. These are your smaller tasks like sending a follow-up email or writing a small blurb. They usually do not take up as much time as the tasks in the preceding categories but are just as important. Nobody wants to lie down for the night only to remember that important email they forgot to send. All tasks, no matter how big or small, should find their way onto your list.
Your list does not have to stop there. It can prove fruitful to attach sub-lists underneath any task that may need them. These will be the smaller tasks that are necessary to fully complete the overseeing task. This will prevent missed steps and tasks from appearing again due to incompletion.
If you’re working with team members, it helps to look through your list and find tasks you can delegate to someone else. Everything does not have to be your responsibility. Utilize your resources to avoid feeling overwhelmed. While you might want to take the reins on every aspect of your business, delegation will keep your day more manageable.
By visually organizing your tasks, you can see everything. It clarifies what actually needs to be done, enables a plan to complete tasks, and tracks your progress. This can help create that sense of accomplishment you may be missing, reduce stress, and avoid feeling overwhelmed.