How to Stay Focused When You Feel Overwhelmed

Are you living on the edge of burnout?

Do small, easy tasks suddenly feel overwhelming?

Mama, I got you. As multi-passionates who have big dreams and refuse to settle, we carry a lot on our shoulders.

Sometimes too much.

And I’ve been there. Many, many times. Times when I’ve been so weighed down that all I wanted to do was…absolutely nothing. Even a short trip to the grocery store somehow seemed too big and too crushing to manage. 

That’s why in this week’s vlog, I’m sharing my top tips for beating the overwhelm so that you can stay focused and empowered.

Feeling “overwhelmed” can come from several different places. 

For some of us, it’s the result of heavy emotions we haven’t processed (or don’t know how to process) just yet. 

And they can be paralyzing. 

You might feel swallowed up by the challenges of your past traumas or tragedies. Maybe you have a loved one who is sick, or, maybe, you’re going through an extremely hard time financially or physically or with your own health. 

If that’s the case, we need to set aside the time and get the help we need to do our own healing. 

And that’s a different conversation for another video.

Right now, I want to address a more common form of overwhelm that comes from taking on too many tasks at once―and we don’t know what to do first.

Or how.

If you’ve been feeling like you need to split yourself into a team of 10 different people to “get it all done,” this is for you.

Here are my top 3 tips I ALWAYS come back to when I’ve been working through debilitating feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion:

1) Make a Master List

Start by getting down all the things swimming around in your brain that you know that you need to do. 

Does the idea of doing that make you cringe?

That’s because many women subconsciously avoid this task to avoid feeling even more overwhelmed. The truth is, we don’t want to face the long list of EVERYTHING we have to do.

I mean, do you?

Wouldn’t you rather ignore it, play hookie for a day, and sip spiced cider by the fireplace instead of hyperventilating over some 17 page long to-do list. 

It’s no wonder we avoid lists like the plague…

But, here’s the deal. 

Once you get those tasks down on paper, you will feel better. Promise. That’s because when they’re floating around in our heads, we hold so much space for them. We can’t ever feel present or focused on what we’re doing at the moment because we’re constantly being pulled by a million different “should be’s.”

So even if you do take that cider day, you can’t fully relax. Instead, bombs are going off all around you, shrilling about all the emails you have to write, clients to call, the dog you have to walk, or children to feed. 

And, mama, that’s exhausting!


However, when you get it on paper, it all stops. 

It’s finally safe to come out of your bomb shelter now.  

The list will be long…that’s ok! As you go through everything, decide on how much time and energy you have to invest in your tasks. Whether it’s 10 hours, 20 hours or 50 hours, you need to get clear on how much time―and how much energy and resources―you realistically have. And it’s highly likely that you won’t have enough hours in your arsenal to complete all the tasks.

This is also ok.

This will allow you to focus on your absolute priorities. The ones that MUST get done. 

For example, Warren Buffett often talks about his 5/25 Rule. You may have 25 things you feel you need to work on, but only five can be in your zone of focus at any one time. And to be productive, you have to force yourself to ignore those other 20. 

Once you’re clear on your time, energy, resources, and the help you will need to get it done, circle those top 5 priorities and put the rest on hold.

For now.

2) Make Your List “4D”

No need for funky glasses for this one.

My 4D’s with any list are: Do, Delegate, Delay or Delete.

Your top 5 priorities go into the “Do” category. You can either delay, delegate or delete the rest. It’s up to you! Once those priorities are lined up, you can start breaking them down into smaller bite size tasks to help you take action.

Remember to breathe. The last thing you want to do is panic.

I can’t tell you the number of times that stuff has just blown up in my life. And when it does, I have to decide whether to deal with it now or make an appointment with myself for later

(Yup, I actually do schedule my meltdowns). 

Because if I have a panic attack right now, it’s just going to derail the precious time I have to move my missions forward. And that will only make me more stressed out. So when something crazy happens, instead of being a slave to toxic stress, I consciously take the time to schedule an hour (or even an entire day!) to give myself that space to freak out…without letting it jeopardize my current tasks.


3) Make it a Gift List… to yourself!

Full disclosure, I did not make this up, but I absolutely love it.

If you start calling your “To Do” lists your “Get To Do” lists, it is such a healthy exercise in gratitude. You will gain a positive shift in your perspective to remember that, “Oh, yeah! These are things that I get to work toward in my life. These are moving me closer to my dreams.” 

That little tiny shift in perspective is incredibly empowering. 

Making these lists can be pretty revealing to our inner, emotional state of being. You may still hit a point where you get stumped and live in analysis paralysis. I’ve had to pull myself out of the stress abyss. Over and over again.

When you hit that point, don’t hesitate to seek outside help or counsel. Find someone who is not emotionally attached to the situation, who can be an objective third party to listen,  bounce ideas around, and help you get big picture vision. Because, when you’re deep in it, it’s easy to get slogged in the details as if they were the only things that matter.

(Spoiler alert, they’re not.)


When you step back and see the larger scope of your goals, and approach them with gratitude, those little stressors fade away.

I promise you, anytime you hit that feeling of overwhelm, if you walk yourself through this 3 step exercise or get a mentor to help you, it will pull you right out of that black hole. 

Even in a sea of drama. 

As part of the Digging Deeper tribe, you’ve heard me say it countless times. Being overwhelmed is a choice. You can either choose to be overwhelmed or choose to be empowered. 

Which choice will you make today?

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