Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

December 17, 2013

12 Ways To Get Things Done When Life Feels Overwhelming.

When life feels chaotic it’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything that’s going on around you.

What used to be simple and scheduled and formulaic now seems cluttered and uncomfortable — and you’re not sure you can get anything done right now.

But when you stop moving forward, you lose momentum.

Everything you’ve worked for in the last few months and years get stopped. Put on hold. Sometimes, that hold can be deadly to your dreams. To your mission. To your cause.

So what can you do? How do you get things done when there’s so much to be done you’re not sure where to get started?

Here are a few timeless suggestions for managing when life gets chaotic:

  1. Take the time to build a list of everything that you need to do. Build priorities. Label contingencies. Describe the outcomes you want to see.  You can delete stuff later.  Just get it all together so you can look at it.
  2. Use smart technology to remind you of key events. Tools like Wunderlist and Google Calendar make it easy to set up alarms in repeating events. Things get a lot less chaotic when you are reminded of the most important things that you need to be doing.
  3. Build a “Minimum List”. Tag the items on your list that make up the bare minimum that you need to achieve right now. You’ll be surprised at how few items stay on the list — and you’ll be motivated to do even more.
  4. Hire  the help you need. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, find key tasks, or parts of tasks, that you can hire someone else to help you with. Use Fiverr or Elance or oDesk to get the support you need to be amazing.
  5. Take time to get physical. Instead of eliminating regular exercise from your schedule, protect the time you work up a sweat. In those moments of burning calories you’ll find that you think of solutions you wouldn’t have thought about before. And you’ll return to your tasks with a renewed clarity.
  6. Don’t waste time on regrets or worries. It’s easy to spin out of control when you think about what you could have done or should have done. Replace those negative thoughts with clear strategies for moving forward from where you are right now.
  7. Stop watching so much TV. It’s amazing how distracting media can be. Instead of working toward success, your brain goes to mush when you tune up the latest episode of your favorite TV show.
  8. Be clear about what you want to achieve. A lot of the time, chaos is from uncertainty — not knowing exactly what you want but feeling dissatisfied with what where you are right now. Hire a coach or a therapist — or find a new set of friends .
  9. Get enough sleep. Most human beings need 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night to operate at peak potential. When you exercise more or stress more you need even more sleep. Don’t overdo it — but don’t think you can cheat by sleeping even less. It’ll backfire on you.
  10. Give time and attention to others. When you give time and attention to others, your brain tells itself that you have more time then you need. That sends a signal to the rest of your body to calm down — that everything will be ok. You’ll actually feel more relaxed and do better work.
  11. Pay attention to the details. Getting things done isn’t the same as getting things done well. Don’t just check things off your list. Make sure you’ve done the best that you can do.
  12. Apologize when things don’t go the way you want them to go. When things are chaotic it’s easy to make mistakes or hurt peoples feelings. Instead of letting that negativity linger, make the smart decision to apologize early. And mean it. Then move on.

Each day matters. Your reactions matter.

Each opportunity to move towards where you want to be matters.

Just because things are chaotic and spinning out of control doesn’t mean that you can’t still get things done.

In fact, that’s the time when you really need to get things done.

So fight through the confusion. Get past your frustration and your sense of uncertainty. The more you get things done, the less chaotic you’ll find your world.

Which is what you wanted all along anyways.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.