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The first step to get things organised in order to feel less overwhelmed is to start with the here and now. What is yanking your mind around? What is keeping you up at night? Get it out of there!

DO NOT make a list! (yet)

You know the standard productivity trick, don’t you? Make a to do list and then work your way through it. …Yawn… How many of those do you already have somewhere hidden and stashed away. Remaining undone, have done or whatever? Did they help you feel less overwhelmed? No. No! They made you feel crap. You saw all these commitments you have made with yourself and not have kept yet.

Get a big stack of loose leaves, preferably A5 or half of that. Think of all the things that are on your mind. Write down each one on one sheet of paper. No no, just one issue per sheet. We want to be able to sort these, so no cheating, just one thought, one not-done-thing per sheet. Yes, you might well end up with 100 to 200 sheet or more. That just shows us, how many open commitments you have swirling around in your mind.

Finished? Good. Now we sort these sheets into three categories:

  • Requiring only one step,
  • Requiring Two and more steps
  • Someday/Maybe

One stepper require only a single action to be done. For example, „put garbage out” is a one-stepper. It is over and done with after one step.

Two steppers require two or more steps. For example, you need to call the garage about your car. It is a one stepper if you have the number in front of you right now. If you do not know the number, it is a two stepper. Step one find out the number for the garage, step two call it.

Someday/Maybes are issues you do not want to forget about, but there are not essential RIGHT NOW, they can be deferred to at a later date or are things you have been thinking about for quite some time, but have not done anything about them. Everything that is not in the one step or two step pile goes into the Someday/Maybe pile.

Now sort. If you start feeling overwhelmed remember:

„The only way is through…” David Allen

If you feel it is too much. Do it in 15 or 20 Minute increments. Set a kitchen timer do 20 minutes, take a break, have glass of water get some fresh air, but finish sorting.

Congratulations, you are half way there.