6 Lists To Make When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Gazillions of things bouncing around your mind can be overwhelming.

Causing you to lose focus, become totally overwhelmed and making you less productive.

But putting all these ‘things’ down on paper – into neat little lists – can help calm us, focus on priorities and analyze what’s really going on.

If you don’t know what to do when overwhelmed, this can be a simple, but effective way to calm the chaos.

Leaving you refreshed and in control – ready to move forward again.

Here are 6 lists that are a great place to start in unwrapping everything that is going on. Some are loosely based on the Eisenhower Decision Matrix and the others are for capturing everything else – including those other ‘shiny’ ideas that need writing down.

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List 1 – The Urgent List

What urgently needs taking care of?

The big red flags, causing you underlying – or full-on stressful stress (yes that’s real)!

This is the pressing type stuff. That will have consequences, whether financially, emotionally or otherwise. The bills that need paying, the paperwork that needs lodging, the application that needs finishing.

If there is something that you have putting off, and it’s now well past due, then write it down here.


List 2 – The Coming Up List

What’s coming up that needs doing?

They aren’t hugely stressful right now, but they will be if you don’t start working on them….

It’s those things that are on the horizon, but they are coming up and you know you need to get them done. Do you have to buy a gift for next week, start organizing a party or book in a hair appointment?  

Write down anything that you need to action/organize or plan for in the upcoming 3 months.


List 3 – Routines

What routines can I set up to help ‘future me’?

Glance back at list 1 – the ‘urgents’. Are there some recurring themes here? Are there bills you have overlooked, no clean clothes or a messy home?

In an attempt to stop these ‘urgents’ from occurring again, what routines could you implement that would help the future you – would a budgeting routine, a laundry or cleaning routine help out here?

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List 4 – Future Regrets

What will become a future regret if I don’t act on it?

While not hugely stressful to you right now, there are some things going on (or not going on) in your life that are irking you. And while they might not be a big deal right this second, you know that there will come a time that you are going to regret not having done something about them.

These are the goals you really want to work on (but haven’t found time for) or the habits that you need to start or stop to move forward in life. Regrets suck, but these things don’t have to be – if you’re willing to acknowledge them and do something about them.

An example of a future regret I have right now, is spending one on one time with my kids each day. They are still at that cuddly age where they want to spend time with me, yet sometimes the day gets away from me and we’ve run out of time to read at night or just talk one on one. Yet there will come a day (all too soon) when they won’t want me to do these things with them as much, so I know I’m on borrowed time and don’t want to look back and regret it. I can do something about it, so I’m choosing to actively make it a priority now.

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List 5 –  A Let It Go List

What is no longer needed, useful or important?

There is probably stuff on your to-do list that has been sitting there for a long time now. Have a think about why it’s still there – is it no longer applicable, useful or important?

If so, it’s taking up valuable mental energy – so choose to let it go. Write these things down, as well as projects that are no longer important or goals that no longer interest you.

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List 6 –  A Shiny Ideas List

What new ideas or projects can I park here for now?

I have loads of new ideas that come to me each day. Yet I haven’t finished half the ones I’ve already started on. So I can end up with multiple started projects and very few completed ones.

This is mentally draining and can reduce your confidence. Instead, a great way idea is to ‘park’ any new ideas, projects or plans in this list. It gets them out of you head and you won’t need to worry about forgetting them as they have just been ‘parked’ for now. Then you simply reassess your ‘shiny ideas’ list when you have the time and go from there.

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If you’re wanting an easy way to complete this exercise and reduce that horrible overwhelmed feeling, then click below to receive your own ready-made lists:

6 Lists to Make When Overwhelmed


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