Your heart’s racing and you’re blinking at the clock every couple of minutes. You have that list of things you need to do—whether it be in your head or on paper or in a calendar or in a planner—and you’re incredibly conscious of just how many things are on that list.
How on Earth are you going to get all of it done? Will you get it all done? Heart’s racing, head’s pounding, maybe you’re trembling a little.
I like to call this feeling overwhelmed.
I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed for the past few weeks. It’s been a rough semester for me. Are you doing all right? I hope you’re doing well.
I have 13 essays due Tuesday, 2 essays and 4 chapters of #TheProject due Friday, and a paper due Sunday. I haven’t been doing so great health-wise either, I’m afraid. Doing this blog is a strategy somewhere between procrastinating and reducing anxiety so here goes: what to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
1) The Pomodoro Method
The idea here is that you set a kitchen timer (or any timer, really) to about 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. The idea is that you work in small periods of a manageable time, and then take a brief break, because working for a few hours at a time is unsustainable for most people. Taking that 5-minute break is intended to let your brain relax a little bit, essentially catch a breath, before it returns to business as usual. Working in the short chunks of time also lets it focus intensely and then give yourself permission to be distracted.
2) Break It Down
When I’m working with students, I like to remind them that almost no one eats an apple in a single mouthful. You have to take it in small bites. I recommend doing the same thing with all the stuff that’s overwhelming you: break it into smaller pieces and do one piece at a time. Not only do you then feel accomplished as you’re getting those things done, that sense of accomplishment can give you the motivation to keep working.
3) To-Done List
I’m sure you’ve heard of a to-do list, and I do recommend those, but I think this is good for recognizing the work you’ve done. The idea of the to-done list is to write down everything you’ve accomplished in a separate list, whether or not the items are on the original to-do list. If you don’t do the things you need to do, but you’re doing something else productive, acknowledge that. For example, despite the 20 writing assignments I have above, my to-done list includes checking my email and running my 2 loads of laundry, and cleaning my desk.
Anyway, now I have to get back to the mountain of work. I have to do. Wish me luck~ (And best of luck with everything for you, too <3)
Have you tried any of these?
What has/hasn’t worked for you?
What other strategies do you use when you’re overwhelmed?