What to Do When You Have Too Much to Do

So often feelings of overwhelm come from having too much to do.

Particularly when I was in grad school, I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of things
I had to do to get my degree.  Every day felt like climbing a mountain.  It wasn't until I became burned out
that I understood just how important it was to manage my workload, time, and energy.  

Recovering from burnout and keeping it from happening again became a priority.
What I learned has not only helped myself, but also my clients to overcome overwhelm 
before it gets to burnout and change attitudes towards work/life balance for the better.

Here are 5 strategies to help you when you have too much to do:

  1. Say no.
    Setting and enforcing boundaries helps protect your time and energy.  You can do anything,
    but you can't do everything.  Every no to something that doesn't serve you, is a yes to your goals.
  2. Prioritize your workload.
    Find a system that helps you keep track of your most important tasks as well as deadlines
    so that you know what needs your attention right now and what can wait.
  3. Schedule and take breaks.
    Your brain needs time to process information so that you can see the big picture
    and make decisions that increase your productivity and efficiency.  Not taking breaks
    ends up costing you time in the long run.
  4. Delegate.
    Some tasks don't need your personal touch. Figure out what part of your workload you can delegate.
    If that's not possible, see what chores at home you can hire out or delegate to family members.
  5. Manage yourself.
    Warren Buffett coined this term in a recent article at Inc. Instead of managing time, manage yourself
    by limiting distractions, eliminating poor habits, and focusing on those things that yield the greatest results.

There will always be more work to do, but you only have one life.  Make choices that you won't regret later.

Years in the future, will you really have wished you'd worked more...
or will you realize how much of life you've missed out on?

Dr. Nancy Williams is a music educator and leadership & life coach. Sign up for weekly messages of inspiration and leadership sent directly to your inbox and receive the free, simple workbook "5 Steps to Overcoming Overwhelm."

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