7 Steps to Beating Overwhelm and Getting Stuff Done

Are you letting fear stop you from reaching your goals?


what's stopping you wordle cloud

Don’t let fear stop you. I created this “word cloud” using Wordle. Super quick and easy tool for visual marketing!


OMG. Can I really do this? What was I thinking. I’m not good enough. I’m not ready yet…says that little voice in your head.

Do you ever have those moments of self-doubt?

Me too.

I have a lot going on right now. It’s exciting. But it’s also kind of scary and overwhelming.

Here are some of the projects that I have planned for the next 3 months:

  • Host a new webinar.
  • Create an online training product or mini course.
  • Beta-test my training course.
  • Start a new term of teaching Social Media for Photographers at the Centre for Arts and Technology.
  • Update my YouTube channel.
  • Update my website.
  • Create infographics and shareables to use on Facebook and Pinterest.


Whew. That sounds like a whole shed-load of stuff doesn’t it? And that’s not including other client work, Skype calls, attending networking meetings, and general life activities like eating, sleeping, spending time with my husband and friends, and (ugh) housecleaning.

If I break it down, the list gets even longer. Let’s look at hosting a webinar. I’ve already decided on my topic.

For that one project – hosting a webinar –  there are many tasks that need to be completed:

  • research webinar hosting options
  • create presentation
  • test webinar options
  • set up landing page for people to register
  • set up automatic emails to remind participants
  • practice presentation
  • create blog posts and status updates about the webinar topic to share and create buzz

Yikes. Keep breathing.

That is only ONE project. Just writing it all out makes it sound pretty daunting.  But trust me, that is the key to moving forward.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a project or goals and you don’t know where to start, you need to get out of your head in order to beat those little voices and stop procrastinating.


Here are 7 things you can do to get your project underway and make it more manageable so you see it through to completion:

1.  Do a brain dump.

Get all those thoughts and ideas out of your head. Don’t worry about the order, that comes next. You can do it with pen and paper, use a mind map, or just a blank Word document. Don’t edit and don’t just. Just brainstorm ideas.

2. Evaluate and organize.

Break things down into projects and tasks. Each project will have an end date. Tasks are the action steps you need to do to complete each project.

For example, my first list above was projects – the bigger goals. My second list was tasks for one project. I tend to write mine out on a big flipchart pad, and like to use different colours to separate my tasks and projects. It makes it more visual, and more fun. (Confession: I also use smelly markers.)


Brainstorming project steps - coloured markers

One of my “brain dumps” for a project and tasks (action steps to complete my project goal). The smelly markers are Mr Sketch.

3. Number tasks or put them in order in some way.

For some tasks, you can work in a non-linear fashion, but others will depend on a prior step being completed in order to move on. For instance, creating a website (project) means you’ll need to buy a domain name (task 1) and set up web hosting (task 2). That doesn’t mean you can’t write the text for each section first, in a Word document (task 3). Or find suitable images (task 4).

You might even discover that allocating tasks leads to even more steps.

4. Decide what parts you can do, and what you need to outsource or assign to someone else.

Continuing on the website development project, maybe you decide you can write your own web copy, find or create your own images, but you don’t want to learn to setup a WordPress website. It might be a better use of your time to hire someone to set it up for you. So you’ve added another task (hire web designer, which might also mean setting up an account at a freelancing source like Odesk or Elance.)

5. Schedule your tasks.

Use an agenda, or an online calendar to set aside time to complete each task. Don’t forget to schedule in everything, including client meetings, lunch, and leisure activities.

This helps you to stay focused and commit to tasks. If you are employed it’s especially easy to have a loose schedule and this can lead to a lack of efficiency. (I admit that this is one of my weak points).

6. Find ways to be accountable.

Make a commitment by posting your intentions on Facebook, telling your friends and family. This can  help you to stay on track, but announcing your intentions makes it more real and solid each time you articulate your plans.

(Hint: that’s part of why I did this blog post!)

 7. Get things done.

Start working through your tasks, and ultimately, you will complete your project goals. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you complete your tasks. Be sure to celebrate your success.


So what are your big fat hairy goals?

What are some of your fears?

What tips do you have to overcome feelings of overwhelm and move forward?






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