What To Do When You’ve Got Too Much To Do

A very common complaint that I hear from clients is that they simply have too much to do. The demands of most jobs are pretty intense, not to mention the additional pressures imposed by family, quotidian chores, and self-care. This is particularly the case when starting a new job, or when raising children.

A common strategy to deal with this situation is often self-defeating: list-making. Writing down everything you have to do seems like a smart thing, but in more cases than not just looking at that lengthy list is enough to create a sense of panic and defeat – how in the world will you ever get all of that done? Then, to deal with that panic, you might pour yourself a drink or distract yourself with TV, a video game, or surfing the internet. That of course will only wind up making things worse.

Realize that the feeling of being overwhelmed is a FEELING. And feelings can be managed. Here are some ways to do that:


Conscious, slow breathing slows your heartbeat and sends a signal to your mind that you can relax. And when you’re relaxed you’re going to be more efficient and make better decisions – the mental stress of feeling overwhelmed impairs your ability to think clearly.


Listen to some music. Play with your cat or dog. Pray. Meditate. Connect with nature (a leisurely walk perhaps).


Remind yourself that you can only do one thing at a time, and decide which thing you want to address first. Then focus just on that one thing. You will make optimal progress if you concentrate on the task at hand, mentally shutting out all of the other priorities. If three things require immediate attention you’ll have to decide which is most important and start there. You’ll get to the other two as soon as you’ve gone as far with the first one as makes sense. That realization will help you feel less overwhelmed.


When you work out your body creates endorphins, the hormones that engender feelings of pleasurable calm. And regular exercise boosts self-esteem and confidence, which will enable you to feel better prepared to tackle a demanding list of to-dos.


You may be one of those people (and there are many) who are reluctant to ask for help in almost any situation. Either because it feels like an admission of weakness or inadequacy or because you don’t want to be a burden. But sometimes when you’re feeling overwhelmed just reaching out to someone you like can be calming, not involving an actual request for assistance at all.

I’m someone who I hope you’ll consider turning to if you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed. I promise that it will make a big difference.