How to stay calm when you’re overwhelmed by tasks

Overwhelmed by tasks? Swimming in assignments and work or school obligations, with no end in sight?

Hey. Take a breath. It’s going to be okay.

Let me walk you through four ways you can stay calm and get through this thing (or these things).

As someone who’s been balancing difficult college assignments, the daily grind of work, and everything else that life has entailed for several years now, I’ve come to know what it’s like when you start to feel overwhelmed by what you have on your plate. I mean, I would say that 99% of the time, I’m cool-headed about my work and able to get it done without a lot of fuss or issues on my end. However, I have definitely had days here and there when what was ahead of me seemed like it would never be behind me and my work load was seemingly impossible to accomplish.

Here are some simple ways you can get back into action when stagnation seems more friendly than keeping momentum.

1. Ground yourself

First off, you’re going to need to ground yourself, get calm, and recognize that you can do this.

One way you can start to calm down so you can think more clearly is to take deep breaths of oxygen. Try to breathe deep as you inhale, drawing oxygen in and focusing on breathing from your stomach, not your chest, if that makes sense. 

2. Take a break (or a walk)

Sometimes, lots of work means long, consecutive hours of working. If you’ve been at it for a while, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and give yourself a break. Breaking up your day and giving you a fresh perspective are some benefits of taking breaks. Taking a walk can give you a chance to get outside, away from the place you do your work. Surprisingly, getting away from your work momentarily might be just the way to effectively get back into it.

3. Divide and conquer

It can be overwhelming to look at the whole of what you eventually need to get done. Don’t look at all of what you have to do, look at what steps you can take to get closer to finishing the project(s). Divide large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps you can take towards reaching your goal.

4. Just start

Sometimes the anticipation of doing a project can cause procrastination and putting off the inevitable, which just creates more stress as you scramble to finish your tasks. Once you’ve reset your mind and realized your big projects are just series of small steps, just get in there and get started. The best thing you can do for yourself is do whatever it takes to get it done.

Reasons to look forward to the future (post-pandemic goals)

• Traveling again. On the one hand, we’ve saved gas emissions this year by not traveling. On the other hand, I now know the four walls of my home’s interior better than I’d ever hoped to. I really want to travel. I want to see something new. I want to do it sooner rather than later, but even with precautions put into place I am still hesitant or unwilling to travel right now. Though, I wish I could.

Meeting new people. At the start of this year, I was well on my way to “getting out of my comfort zone” with all kinds of plans to put myself into new social situations with new people. I had even set up a few different “meet-up” type events that ended up being canceled due to the pandemic. Ever since those were canceled, I’ve just been in a state of limbo, not knowing if those events will ever happen or even if a new version will. Aside from going new places, I wanted to see new faces this year, and that definitely couldn’t happen (at least not outside of Zoom).

Things coming together/to fruition. I feel like I’ve just been waiting to do certain things. Waiting and waiting. I don’t know, sometimes, whether I’m waiting for the pandemic to end or if I’m waiting for something else. I feel like time is passing and so little is happening. It just seems incorrect sometimes.

About my Podcast, Branding Myself

You can listen to it on Spotify!

Kind of a weird project but fun, nonetheless.

I’ve recently launched my first podcast, titled Branding Myself. I gave it that title because I became inspired to create a project when I realized I wanted to “re-brand myself,” which led me to dive deeper into learning about personal branding as a topic in general as well as podcasting. I’m not a branding expert and I don’t think I will become one, but I was somewhat interested in the topic and I wanted to create something. Thusly, Branding Myself was born.

One of many great quotes from the podcast so far

Before I started the podcast I was working as a video creator and thinking about making a video series that would focus on this anticipated process of re-branding, but quite frankly, that idea sounded like far too much work for how long I felt like it would actually take to re-brand myself. I needed something faster, and I recalled that I now know several people who have their own podcasts. I thought, if they have podcasts, why can’t I? And, what if I connect with some of my podcaster friends plus some other people I know, and what if I get them to guest-star on the podcast with me? That was how the idea of interviewing people on the show was born.

So far, I have recorded three episodes and I plan to record at least one more that features a guest interview. I might do some solo episodes after that where I try to explain what I have learned and done in my re-branding process so far and what that terminology actually means to me, but I don’t know if I can be as interesting on my own as my guests have lent themselves to be in each of their respective episodes. I feel like each guest conversation has taught me something, and I look forward to interviewing more creative people to find out what they think about branding, if anything.

Are you a creative, branding enthusiast, or just want to be on the podcast? Use the Contact page to shoot me a line!