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How to Manage Busyness and Overwhelm - Top Tips to help you 'Prevent', 'Detect' and 'Cure'.

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

That feeling when you open your diary on a Monday morning, the busyness screaming at you from the page or screen.

Then you sneak a peek at the 'To Do' list and that sinking rush of 'overwhelm' kicks in.

Whether this is a recent issue or something that is starting to become a more regular issue, it is something that can be managed and planned around, to reduce the negative emotional spin it sends us into.


To defeat someone or something

To cause someone to feel strong emotion


State or condition of having a great deal to do

Quality of being full of activity

Do you see positive or negative statements?

Both definitions can have a negative or positive connotation.

How we choose to manage it is what can make the difference, the following tips may help;


With Timeboxing you not only diarise your to-do list, you also set time aside for the priority tasks. When you know everything has been scheduled in you only have to focus on the currently scheduled task.

Whilst I looked at my calendar for the week and it looked crazy busy with very few gaps I also knew that all the important things that needed to be done had been scheduled.

I didn’t need to worry about when I was going to find time to get something on the ‘to-do’ list done as I knew that time had been allocated.

It means I can stay present and focus on the task at hand not everything else that is on the list.

More to Life than Speed

Are you working hard or smart?

I know that I can work hard, ask most people who know me, and they will tell you that I am a grafter, but I will be the first to admit that I do not always work as smart as I can. This is where I will use others to learn how to do what needs to be done in a more streamlined, time-efficient way.

'Do all the things but do them faster'. Might be able to keep it up for a while but eventually, I will reach burnout.

If I want to live the life I want then I need to stop, think, act, review and work in a smart way.

Focus on the Present

Timeboxing is a great enabler for this but the concept can be applied whether you use this technique or not.

Take the activity and break it down into small tasks. Set the priority for each task.

Look at the High priority tasks and allocate a day and time to complete them.

Focus on the one task you are working on, focus and zone in, give it your full attention.

The other tasks will still be there when you finish, thinking about them won’t make them disappear! (unfortunately!)

Plan the Schedule – Schedule the Plan

Plan = What – This is your ‘To-Do’ list

Schedule = When – This is your diary/calendar

Make a list, be realistic about how much time you need, add it to your calendar in order of priority.

Begin with the end in mind

What would you have liked to have achieved by the end of the day?

What are your priorities for the day?

What do you realistically have time for?

You can’t calm the storm, but you can calm yourself.

Are you focusing on external factors outside of your control or are you focusing your energy on you, your internal mind which is in your control?

'Sometimes you are the ocean and some times you are drowning in it'

The advice they give to people drowning is not to waste energy fighting the water but to save your energy and float with it. Apply this advice to life. Stop trying to fight what is happening that is not in your control. Stay calm, float along with it and use your energy to calm your mind and keep your focus.

In addition to the above, it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions to identify how this situation has occurred.

  • Ego – Does being busy validate your self-worth?

  • Are you actually 'too busy’ or are you saying this out of habit?

  • Do you make time for the things that are important to you?

  • Are you trying to distract yourself from something that you need to do? Can you be a human BEing, not a human DOing?

  • Are you doing what needs to be done or what you want to do?

  • How much time do you waste procrastinating or social media scrolling (for example)

  • Are you saying yes to what other people ask you to do and therefore saying no to yourself in the process? If you were more assertive and said ‘no’ would this help?


What could you achieve with coaching support?

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