Are you a mom with a to-do list a mile long? Between the never-ending house chores, errands to run, children to take care of, jobs to perform, functions to attend, and so on, it’s a lot. Do you find yourself struggling to get it all done? Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed with the many directions you’re being pulled in and are starting to feel like you’re failing at one or several roles. Maybe you’re even feeling anxious about all the things running through your mind, which is starting to impact your sleep, mood, and patience. To say you’re busy or stressed may feel like an understatement.
So, how exactly do we get it all done with no extra hours in the day to do it all? Here are a few tips that can help you feel less anxious and more productive.
- Make a to-do list: That’s right. It’s harder to remember all the things you have to do if you are only keeping a mental list. Take a few minutes and write down everything that you need to do and are trying not to forget about.
- Organize and prioritize: Take that to-do list and organize it by priority type. Break your tasks down into things that need to be done today, this week, next week, this month, next month, etc. As you start to do this, your immediate to-do list should be getting a little smaller.
- Take it one minute, one hour, one day at a time: A trigger of overwhelm can be the thought or sight of everything you need to do. However, we can start to feel less overwhelmed if we take things one step at a time. Looking at your to-do list for today only, identify what you need to do first, then second, and so on. Or, identify what you feel you can get done in the next hour and do just those things. Once they’re complete, if you have more time, go back to your list and pick out other tasks to start working on.
- Recognize your limits: It’s important to be honest with yourself and recognize your limits. You are one person with a limited amount of time to get things done. This means that there may be tasks that you are unable to do today and/or unable to do without asking for help. That’s okay. Simply recognize this when you are looking at your tasks and planning what you are going to spend time focusing on today.
- Set realistic expectations: A big part of feeling overwhelmed can come from our own expectations of ourselves. When trying to feel less anxious and more productive, we need to set realistic and achievable expectations. Are you expecting yourself to get 5 things on your to-do list done today during naptime or before the kids get home? If you only have one hour, that may not be realistic. Acknowledging this and focusing on 1 or 2 tasks instead is likely to be more achievable and allow you to feel more accomplished.
- Ask for help: While it can feel challenging, asking for help is a great way to get more done. Look at your to-do list and ask yourself, is there anything I could delegate or ask for help with? Think about who is in your household and support group and how they might be able to help you accomplish more. Do you have a neighbor that has children the same age/school/daycare as you? Perhaps you two could do alternative pick-ups and drop-offs. Does your partner or child like to cook? Maybe designating a day or two a week for them to cook a meal will give you more time to do other things. The possibilities are endless.
- Let go of perfectionism: At times, we can place all of our energy into doing something “perfectly” or “just the way I like it.” While this may make you feel some sense of satisfaction, if the goal is to feel more accomplished and get more done, we may need to let go of perfectionist behavior and challenge our thinking. Is the goal to have it done or have it done perfectly? Will anything bad happen if I let someone help me do this versus trying to do it myself?
- Seek support: At times, we can all find ourselves feeling so overwhelmed we don’t know where to start or how to feel better. Or, we can find ourselves with minimal support, anxious or depressed moods, and feelings of failure. These things can feel stressful and become barriers to feeling productive and good about ourselves within our many roles. If you feel this resonates with you, talking to a counselor and considering counseling can also be helpful. Reach out to Psychotherapy for Women, LLC for a free telephone consultation today to explore supportive options further.