how to avoid overwhelming tasksDo you ever get so overwhelmed with your to-do list, you just want to throw your hands up in the air and scream!  oh my sweetie, I was like that last Friday.

It’s been 4 months since I’ve felt that overwhelmed and mid-day, I knew what was going to happen.   You see, I’m planning a major launch of a membership site on March 1st specifically for creative women who want to start, build and grow their business.

All that is fine.  I’m on track.

Around noon, the doo doo hit the fan

  • email:  client needs a new website by Monday – don’t bother with a quote, just get it done
  • phone:  prospect needs a branding kit and website – quote and timeline
  • desktop notifications:  someone replied to a post in my private FB group
  • email:  client needs a social media strategy put together with pricing
  • desktop notifications:  someone replied to a post in my private FB group
  • phone:  prospect from a meeting that week is following up on a quote
  • phone: computer repair is done
  • email:  got a go ahead on working one on one with a new client
  • email:  got a go ahead with a prospect for a Skype interview
  • desktop notifications:  someone replied to a post in my private FB group
  • email:  when will my signup form be done for a Facebook webinar I’m hosting
  • email: got an email from a client to review work she’s done
  • email:  asking when my membership site will be open
  • phone:  got a call from a supplier, my Blue Yeti is in stock, pick it up now
  • email:  prospect
  • notification:  crap, it’s Joe’s brothers birthday!
  • desktop notifications:  someone replied to a post in my private FB group
  • screaming across the room:  Joe is asking where in the heck are all these requests for new work coming from
  • and what the heck was all that dinging coming from.

Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff taking place all within 2 hours and usually, I just take it in stride.

For some reason, I just wigged out, flopped in my chair and put my head down on my desk.  I should have taken a selfie, boy did I look stupid!

Stuff like this happens all the time. Why was I so distracted, unfocused, overwhelmed and grumpy?

Then it hit me…

how to avoid overwhelming tasksMental Clutter!

I knew what I had to do…

  • Muted my smart phone and put it on the shelf – quiet and turned it over
  • Muted my tablet – quiet
  • Uninstalled all notifications.  I can log into FB and see notification there anyways, I don’t need to be notified every 4.5 seconds.
  • Unsubscribed from 80% of all the newsletters sitting in my inbox for more than a week that I haven’t read.
  • Set a google reminder, check my email at 9, 1, 5 and 9.

So now I got rid of the time to refocus my brain.

Fired up my Pomodoro App and turned on Brain.FM to the Extreme Focus, Rain and Thunder

Pomodoro round 1

  • Looked at my to-do list just from that day.
  • I wrote what the top three things I had to get done that day… things that were critical.
  • The rest were delegated and re-scheduled to next week in order of priority.
  • Sent out emails to schedule dates and times for quotes, projects and followups.
  • 5 minute break.

Pomodoro round 2

  • Setup my scrum board with the top three critical projects.
  • Organized each item so it was visually identifiable and appealing in colour (inspiring).
  • 5 minute break.

Pomodoro round 3

  • 25 minute stream of consciousness writing of what I was grateful for and how I was feeling at that moment.
  • 5 minute break

Now I was back to myself…calm, centred and focused on the tasks at hand.

how to avoid overwhelming tasks

Here are the tools that I used:

  • The Pomodoro technique helps break up your projects into 25 minute pieces so they are easier to manage and forces you to take a break.  I always use this time to move my body and get a cup of tea.  You can use a regular timer or one of many online apps, most are free.  I use an App on my mobile devices instead of a timer.  It’s called the Pomodoro Challenge Timer created by AXFN and you can find it in Google Play.
  • Brain.FM drown out audio distractions and with binaural beats, helps re-focus the brainwaves based on what you want to achieve.  The formal explanation:  It’s research-backed audio brainwave training to dramatically improve focus, relaxation & sleep.

There are other alternatives to the Pomodoro technique and Brain.FM and these work for me so I’m happy.  Coffitivity is pretty cool, it plays ambient coffee house noise and you can adjust the volume as you want.  It’s free for three different types of tracks.

Share in the comments below what system works for you when it comes to productivity and re-focusing or if you don’t have a system and you just go with the flow.

Until next time…

Stay Inspired.



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