Go From Overwhelmed to Productive

written by Sara Arey
Ever have one of those days when you feel things spiraling down and you feel yourself sinking? Me, too. In fact, that’s how my day was going yesterday. I didn’t even really realize what was happening until my daughter kept asking me what was wrong. Finally, I stopped to look inside and saw how overwhelmed and discouraged I was feeling.

There were lots of reasons for this, but most of that’s just my story about what was happening. The bottom line is that I felt like I wasn’t getting enough done and I didn’t feel like I was getting enough help.

I’m having a fabulous day today, so I want to share the steps that helped me get from there to here.

Recognize what’s going on. Walking around unconsciously and taking your bad day out on others doesn’t serve you – and isn’t any fun for the others in your life, either.

Accept that this is how it is at the moment – and that this isn’t how it will always be (even if it feels like it at the moment). These thoughts aren’t who you are, they aren’t your life. They’re just thoughts you’re having right now.


Take care of your basic needs. Being tired and/or hungry is counterproductive and can play a huge role in feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, ineffective, etc. This may mean going to bed early and starting again in the morning – though I recommend doing Step 4 before you drift off so that you’ll sleep more peacefully.


Center yourself and get back in touch with your greater vision for yourself and your life. What are you committed to? What are your values that go beyond the cares of the day? Why do you do what you do? Sitting quietly and taking a few deep breaths, reading a few quotes that put things in perspective, sitting outside in the fresh air, calling a friend who really gets what you’re working to create in your life (not someone who’ll want to wallow in misery with you), listening to some beautiful music – all these things can help you reconnect with your greater vision.


Make a Future TADAs list. I used to have To Do lists, but I recently changed the name and I love it!  Future TADAs highlights the sense of accomplishment and pride you’ll get from reviewing this list tomorrow. It also has the energy of the tasks already being done, which makes them feel more doable. Next week, I’ll give some tips about how to make this list more effective and feel more doable.  For now, see what happens when you change the name!


Decide who you want to be in order to get your list done, and phrase it in the present tense. Here are some examples:

  • I am organized, efficient and effective.
  • I am my authentic self and I express myself with ease and clarity.
  • I am peaceful and productive.
  • I am in love with my business and reaching out to clients and potential clients.
  • I am someone who easily recognizes what I can do and change, and who gracefully lets go of the rest.
  • I am someone who easily and cheerfully asks for help, and I get even more than I ask for.
  • I am someone who focuses on what’s important to me and keeps taking another step. Say your statement to yourself repeatedly during the day. Keep it in mind as you work your way down your list.


Celebrate each accomplishment. Really take it in. Tell yourself, “I did it! I did this! Yea, me!” Take a deep breath and let the joy of accomplishment sink in.


Tomorrow morning, you’ll probably be able to start with step 4 – getting in touch with your greater vision for yourself. Follow that with step 4A – reading through your TADA list from the day before. Look at what you did and appreciate who you are that you got those things done. If there was something you didn’t get done, put it on today’s list without judging yourself for it. Recommit to the new day.

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