One of the most common time management challenges these days is feeling overwhelmed, or the feeling that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it all.
Let’s face it. Feeling overwhelmed sucks! It slows you down, creates extra stress, muddles your thinking, drains your energy and is extremely unpleasant.
When I started my first corporate job right out of college, I was keeping track of all my projects and to-do’s in my head. I didn’t use a planner or to-do list and at first, that seemed to work pretty well for me.
But a few months into the job, my boss put me in charge of a small team of developers on a new project. The added responsibility meant that I had a lot more stuff to keep track of and I started feeling VERY overwhelmed.
The final straw for me came when I “dropped the ball” on a major deadline that I completely forgot about (that’s one of the BIG problems with tracking things in your head).
That’s when I decided to do something about it and I really focused on improving my time management skills. After a couple of false starts with to-do lists, I finally figured out a pretty good system that helped me keep track of all my projects and to-do’s.
And a funny thing happened as soon as I did that… I started feeling MUCH less overwhelm and I started getting a lot more stuff done. It’s hard to describe the feeling, almost like dropping a huge boulder off my shoulders that was weighing me down and holding me back.
I didn’t make the connection at the time, but I now completely understand why that happened.
You see, your head is NOT a good place to keep track of your to-do’s and your schedule. Your brain has to work EXTRA hard just to keep track of all these details. And it not only slows you down, but it’s where a lot of that anxiety and overwhelm comes from.
As soon as I got these details out of my head and into my planner, most of that overwhelm and anxiety went away. And I automatically became more productive because my mind was free to fully focus on my work instead of having to spend extra energy tracking all these details.
So if you are still using your head to keep track of some (or all) of your projects & to-do’s, then getting these things OUT of your head and into a planner will make a HUGE difference in how you feel and how much you get done. Trust me on this!
Using a good planner instead of your head is one of simplest but MOST powerful steps you can take to overcome overwhelm and be more productive. It sure worked for me!
That’s it for today. In the next article in the series, you’re going to learn about the 2nd major cause of overwhelm and what to do about it.