The neglected paperwork is in a huge pile begging for attention. The phone is ringing. The dog is barking. And your list of things to do is a mile long – half of it swimming around in your head and the other written on various scraps of paper. To say you feel overwhelmed seems like an understatement.

Have you been in that boat? I have. It’s not a very fun ride, but we all seem to hop back on it once in awhile.

So next time you’re in the “boat” of overwhelm.. here is a step-by-step game plan to get you back on dry land.

If you're feeling lost in a sea of overwhelm, follow the simple steps outlined here to get back on track and feel at peace with your to-do list.


The first step to take is to pray. It’s sometimes easier said than done in stressful situations as we get accustomed to handling things all on our own, but slowing down enough to ask God for His help and peace is the perfect place to start to go from overwhelmed to calm.

If you want to go a step further, meditate on some scripture. To get started, grab my free printable cards on 12 Verses for When You’re Stressed.

Brain dump

Next take a blank sheet of paper and just “dump” all your thoughts.. it doesn’t have to be organized, just get it all down on paper to sort out later.

Remind yourself of your priorities

Before you start making sense of your brain dump, it’s nice to take a moment to remind ourselves of our priorities. What do we need to be focusing on in this season? How exactly can we make those things a priority in our everyday lives?

Make a SHORT to-do list

Start by taking just a few tasks from your brain dump, not more than 3-5, and make a very short to-do list. Make sure these tasks are:

  1. The most important
  2. In line with your priorities

Tackle those first tasks

Now tackle your short to-do list and don’t worry about the rest of your brain dump until it’s finished.

Celebrate your progress

Once you have your short to-do list completed, have a small celebration! Set aside some “me” time or another special treat. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive, just something you truly enjoy to celebrate your progress and motivate you to keep going.

Make a plan with next steps

Now that you’ve made some progress, take a look at the rest of your “brain dump” and map out a plan for the rest. Start with the highest priorities and the most important, and go from there.

So to recap, here is a checklist of steps to take when you feel overwhelmed:

  • Pray
  • Brain dump
  • Remind yourself of priorities
  • Make a SHORT to-do list
  • Tackle the first tasks
  • Celebrate your progress
  • Make a plan with next steps

You can do this! You are not stranded in the ocean of overwhelm. You are in control of your boat and can take it right back to shore following these easy steps. I believe in you! Take it one step at a time to get rid of the overwhelm so you can better live your purpose!

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