With today’s ever-increasing workloads and compounding stresses from work and home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Overwhelm can lead to increased stress, and nothing good comes from being stressed!

For most executives and business owners I work with, we’ve discovered the solution can sometimes be found in your everyday routine. Making small (but important) changes to the daily habits in your business / work schedule can make a profound difference! Here are 12 tips that work when you’re feeling overloaded:

1. Determine Your TOP Priority. What is your #1 priority in life at this moment? Is it Family? Work? Health? Finances? Use that as a guide for deciding what to prioritize.

2. Set Your Morning Alarm an Hour Earlier. I know everyone loves their sleep, but if your natural rising time is 6:30 – 8:00 am, turn back your clock an hour earlier. The more momentum you can build into your morning, the more likely you’ll get important things accomplished.

3. Be “Top-Heavy.” Place the biggest activities early in the day when creating your to-do list. If your whole week is overloaded, then place the majority of work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (A bottom-heavy schedule won’t get done if you’re overloaded.)

4. Always Keep Your To-Do List with You. Your to-do list should always be in front of you or near you, and never be far from your mind. Unless you’re working on a task, you should be checking your to-do list to see what important task is coming next.

5. Give Yourself Flexibility. Avoid making any promises that you might not be able to keep. People need to know where the activity sits on YOUR priority list before you sign up. This gives you more flexibility to back out if you can’t follow-up later.

6. Get Rid of “Buzzing” Tasks. Like flies in your face, buzzing tasks are activities that draw your attention, but don’t have major consequences for avoiding them. Not picking up the phone call, shutting down email and ignoring some requests can save you time with few short-term side effects.

7. Just Say NO and Don’t Back Down. You may enjoy taking on lot of new projects and requests, but make sure that they are your projects, not just those forced on you or seemingly obligated by you from the outside. L earn how to say NO to activities and events that don’t add big value.

8. Unplug Yourself. Make a habit to turn off phones, email and IM chat (this includes Facebook). Determine specific times each day that you will check email and return phone calls. In an overload, connectivity becomes less important than productivity, so turn off anything that can distract you from the important tasks you’re working on.

9. Switch off TV, Games and reduce Internet usage. Cut off the big three time-suckers in your life. Television, internet, email and games (online and offline) can eat up a lot of time. When you’re behind, eliminating them keeps you from procrastinating.

10. No Junk Food Permitted. Don’t eat foods high in fat or simple sugars. Switch to whole grains, vegetables and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated – allowing you to maintain a stable blood glucose level throughout the day. What you eat has a big impact on your energy levels!

11. Make Good Use of Your Network. You won’t be able to delegate everything when you’re in a pinch, but if you’ve helped others during their crunches – they’re more likely to help you when you have an overload. But, you have to ASK! Help out and call in favors when other people can lighten your workload.

12. Don’t Cut Exercise from Your Routine. Energy (not time) will be the crucial factor in a schedule overload. If your overload lasts a week or two, avoiding the gym or your home workout will drain your energy, fast! If you’re tight on time, try a 30-minute run or modified routine in the morning.

If you’re not sure where to start, pick one and stay with it for 7 days, then add others every few days or with each new week. I have many more strategies to help cope with overload, and would be delighted to share with you. Let me know how you do with these tips, and I look forward to helping you become more productive and less overwhelmed!


Kris Cavanaugh, owner of ShiftTM, is an ICF certified Executive & Life Coach, DiSC Facilitator and Trainer who specializes in helping individuals and companies produce more consistent results and increase their effectiveness so their businesses, organizations, departments, and personal lives thrive. Her background includes over 20 years of experience. She is an expert strategist with an amazing ability to pull her clients through difficult challenges to obtain the results they truly desire. To learn more about Kris Cavanaugh and Shift, go to https://begintoshift.com. Kris has also authored several books including Standing Naked in the Storm and Stuck to C.E.O.

If you desire to produce more consistent results and increase your effectiveness personally or professionally, call Kris at 404-551-3601 or go to https://begintoshift.com.aepiph.dev/pages/MakeTheSHIFT to schedule your complimentary meeting today.

To learn more about Kris’ leadership development and other corporate programs, click here: Corporate Programs.

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Kris Cavanaugh is a Professional Member of the NSA (National Speakers Association).  If you or people you know are seeking speakers, panelists, or workshop instructors for any type of association, corporate, nonprofit or industry meeting, please contact Shift, Inc., at kris@begintoshift.com.aepiph.dev.  You can learn more about Kris’ presentations at http://kriscavanaughlive.com.

3 thoughts on “Feeling Overload? 12 Tips to Move from Overwhelmed to More Productive”

  1. I see in this list a concise list of advice from many time management experts. Excellent to see it all together like this. I could not agree more.

    Todd Nielsen

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