Define What Work Needs to Be Done
First things first, define what you actually need to get done. When you’re overwhelmed, sitting down and making a list of your necessary tasks can help. When you’re trying to keep it all in your head, it’s easy to get stressed out or forget something important. Getting it down on paper (or in a phone app, if you prefer) is the first step toward feeling more productive.
Outsource What You Can
Next, identify items that you can outsource to friends, family or hired help versus ones that require your individual attention. For instance, cleaning your gutters might be on your fall to-do list, but that’s something you can hire out. (Look for coupons on Groupon or LivingSocial). By focusing on low-hanging fruit that you can assign to someone else, you can free up your time and energy to focus on the things only you can do.
Prioritize Your Work and Estimate Time Needed
Are there items on your list that are time-sensitive? What are the absolute must-dos for the time you have? Are there tasks that can wait a while? Assign priority levels to your various tasks. And while you’re at it, see if you can estimate the time it will take to complete those tasks. That way you can work tasks in by the window of time you have.
Know Your Limits and Work With Them
If you’re not already familiar, Spoon Theory is great way to think about the work you need to get done and the energy it will take. In short, you only have so many spoons a day, and different tasks require a different number of spoons. Planning based on your spoons can help you be realistic about what you can get done without sacrificing your health.