When All Else Fails: Watch a Video!

Balancing clients, projects and personal obligations becomes overwhelming when I attempt to organize my thoughts on the go.  Experience has shown me the need to pause, walk away from the computer and return to the basics.

  • Task lists – As a former computer programmer, one would believe that I use electronic tools to track my work tasks.  A pen and blank page serve as my basic tools to slow my mind enough to organize large projects.  I have learned that all of my progress stalls when I cannot see which task to complete next.  One hour away from the computer multiplies my progress exponentially.
  • Schedule – Most email programs offer a printed schedule feature.  Printing the next few weeks of work time allows me to see the number of hours that I have available for the work that must be completed.  Blocks of time work best to concentrate on the tasks that I want to complete by a certain date.
  • Calendar – All of my tasks lists are inserted into the calendar based on how much time I have to work during the week.  I continue to set due dates first and then determine how much work will be required to complete the pieces of each project to meet my goal.

Project management skills have become second nature to me when I attempt to “stop the spin” in my mind that threatens to overwhelm my productivity each day.  I know that all of my ideas must be harnessed to create the energy required to complete enough work each day to make measurable progress.

As I speak with other people, the primary concern seems to be figuring out what to do next.  Some days, I line up an entire series of videos from people who are ahead of me on this journey.  Their insight and guidance answers my questions and aligns my thoughts to be productive for a few more hours.

All of us get caught in the mire of competing priorities and overwhelming thoughts.  Our best option is to reach out to someone who has the answers.  Videos are available from countless sources on any subject you can name.

How do you address those overwhelming feelings of “too much to do”?

Leave a comment and join the conversation.

— Mialei


  • Ooooh – you were a computer programmer too! So was I 🙂

    My languages were Fortran, Algol, BASIC, COBOL and Sculptor (currently). What were yours?

    Anyway – back to topic….

    However much I try and plan my work ahead I always seem to get knocked off course by other people’s requirements. But as I get paid fairly well to fire-fight, perhaps that IS my work. Just makes it very difficult to have any structure.

    For instance I had a definite job I wanted to do today, then paying client needed support – so down tools. Never mind, there’s always tomorrow 🙂

    My son taught me the art of Googling for a video (or forum) to tell me how to do things when I get stuck. It’s solved me all sorts of obscure problems for me. Sounds obvious now LOL, but I’m glad you made the point for others like me who maybe wouldn’t have thought of it.

    Have a great week, Joy
    Joy Healey recently posted…Social Media Fresh Start For Twitter Posting TipsMy Profile

  • Mialei Iske

    Hi, Joy,

    Part of that programming background was learning how long to struggle on a problem before asking for help. Those nudges from teammates were excellent training for working through obstacles while we learned. All of those languages you mentioned were the same ones we used to program what we thought were powerful computers.

    Thanks for the comment.
    — Mialei

  • Hi Mialei

    Overwhelm is a big problem for a lot of creative types too – often because they’re not sure which idea to pursue next, they’ve so many! LOL

    They’re not always so good at getting into the detail of what’s required before jumping in head first. I used to do that all the time before I realised how it wasn’t serving me.

    A great tip I use and teach my clients, is to batch tasks into groups depending on kind of energy they require. So the energy to check how you’re doing on your business measures is quite different to what you would need to have a productive brainstorming session for instance.

    This really increases productivity. You can read about it in my 15 Terrific Tips blog post linked to below. Hey there’s also a link to a video I made on 1 simple trick to save hours every week.
    Una Doyle recently posted…15 Terrific Tips for Your 2015 Breakthrough Business GrowthMy Profile

  • Too much to do is always a great feeling for me, it means that I wont be bored for a while at least anyhow. Whenever I get close to the feeling of overwhelm on any given day I have to take a step back and go through my planned tasks for that day and prioritise it against whatever has just come in and caused the feeling of overwhelm.

    I do use a free task management tool online called Asana and this helps me out tremendously especially when I am working on something with someone. Might be something you would consider checking out (even though you’re a fan of a pad and pen – me too by the way).

    Outsourcing is also something that I’ve done a lot more lately, simply because I have a lot of tasks that collectively would take up a lot of my time and detract my attention from the core items that need to be done each day and usually these little things get pushed further and further back but even though they aren’t a priority, they still need doing. I’ve found some great people for this on a place called People Per Hour, a freelancing website.

    Great post Mialei.
    Steve Thomas recently posted…My Thoughts On Article MarketingMy Profile

  • Your right Mialei , The good old pen and paper are what i still us whit the computer and calender is great to use also . Thanks for the reminder and good tips in your nice article.

    To your success
    Zora Blume
    zora recently posted…New [Blog] Review $300 + Days Online Are Possible…My Profile

  • Hi Mialei, nice article. I have challenges in prioritizing and nowadays I keep to completing minimum tasks so it boosts my self esteem and confidence when completed. I am getting myself organized by putting them on paper. More can be done and I know I can do more. Keep going Mialei. You are awesome!
    Sandy recently posted…No, You Don’t Need to ImpressMy Profile

  • Mialei Iske

    Hi, Una,

    I finally figured out that too much of my “overwhelm” is the spin in my own mind. Some days, I spend more time struggling against the noise in my mind just to define the tasks to complete.

    Thank you for visiting.
    — Mialei

  • Mialei Iske

    Hi, Steve,

    I have a couple of projects in Asana. Typing does not force me to think in a way that organizes my actions. I am still not sure why putting pen to paper has such a calming effect on the wild and crazy ride this business can be.

    Thank you for your comment.
    — Mialei

  • Mialei Iske

    Hi, Sandy,

    Finding encouragement in the work we complete is one of the most important aspects of working independently. Too many times, I get lost in the fray without reaching out to someone for that positive word. Your note is a good reminder to enjoy this journey.

    Thanks for participating.
    — Mialei

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