Have you ever had those moments where you have so much on your plate that it almost feels impossible to accomplish everything? Maybe you do what I do and decide to take care of all of these things at once – like stopping mid-sentence in an email to text my fiance to pick up dog food, while simultaneously thinking about the meeting I have in 5 minutes. 

Our to-do lists can get long, quick and before we know it we’re in full panic mode trying to accomplish everything at once. Thoughts like “I have so much to do” or “Omg I’m so overwhelmed” start swirling around in our head. It’s in these moments that we have a choice. We can choose to give into the fear and continue to act in a state of panic, which will surely result in sub-par work, OR we can decide to re-evaluate and choose a new approach. 

Here are 3 ways to eliminate the overwhelm and get sh*t done:

1. Prioritize Your Health.

Healthy habits are the first thing to go when we’re feeling overwhelmed. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time to work out today, because there’s too much to do. When we sacrifice our healthy habits for work, we’re doing a huge disservice to ourselves, our business and the people around us. 

The work is never as good when you’re running on 5 hours of sleep and mac & cheese. The mental impact of poor habits is even greater. When you’re trying to get work done with an anxiety and stress filled brain, you won’t get the results you want. We’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth restating – when you’re acting out of fear, you never get what you want. And trust me, when you’re acting out of panic, overwhelm and stress, you’re acting out of fear.

Decide what 5 habits make you feel your best and don’t compromise them for anything. Commit to them every single day and make them your #1 priority. If you’re feeling your best, you will do your best work. Guaranteed.

2. Choose Your Top #3.

What are the top 3 things on your to-do list that will make you feel the most accomplished? It’s surprising, but it’s often the small tedious tasks that wind up taking the most time. Have you ever had 8 hours pass and even though you felt busy, you don’t feel like you accomplished much? Often, we chose to tackle the small, easy tasks first, which makes us feel like we’re being productive, but in reality we’re not making any real impact on our business. 

So ask yourself, what are the three things I could do today that would make the biggest impact? What are the big things that will make the biggest difference in your life? If you tackle those first, the little tasks will feel fun and easy. When you work with intention, you will soon see huge changes in your life and career. 

3. Say no.

This is such a tough one. But if you want to get sh*t done with a smile on your face, you need to start saying no to extraneous things. This might mean skipping your friend’s kid’s jungle themed birthday party. Or canceling a dinner date so you can watch Schitts Creek in peace. I don’t suggest you become flaky, but I do think it’s important to recognize when you’re stretching yourself too thin.

If you’re being asked to do something you don’t have the mental capacity for, and you have the ability to say no, say no. You need to take care of yourself first, not other people. The people in your circle will understand, and if they don’t they might not be a healthy addition to your life. 

Try saying no to the things that don’t serve you. And don’t be alarmed, if you’re anything like me, you’ll instantly feel bad when you tell your friend you can’t babysit her chihuahua. And that’s okay. Recognize that you’ve gotten into a people pleasing cycle and you need to break it, for the sake of your own mental health. The more you flex your “no” muscle, the easier it’ll get and the better you’ll become at establishing boundaries. 

The next time you start to feel that all too familiar feeling of overwhelm, take a deep breath and decide to choose again. You are in control and you have the ability to prioritize your life into order again. Being stressed out and busy doesn’t make you accomplished. Accomplishing things makes you accomplished. I promise, you can be happy and calm, and still get sh*t done.