We all have those days when there is so much that we have to do, our head is full of all the things we are trying to remember and everything around us seems to be out of control, and we just get overwhelmed and stressed about it.

What do you do?

There is only one way to help resolve overwhelm and that is, once you realise you are overwhelmed, stop everything you are doing, sit down, grab a pen and paper and write out a list of all of the things that are running around in your head.

I have had people say they don’t have time to stop and do that. That’s ridiculous, you have all of the time in the world to stop and get things back under control, because as soon as you do this, you will start to reduce the feeling of overwhelm and stress, and start to get things back back in order, and get more done..

The process is;

1. Stop and empty everything in your head onto paper. Everything! Work and personal. Sometimes there will be a lot of items, sometimes there will be only 4, 5, or 6 items. What I have noticed, is that when people have 4 or more things they need to do running around in their head, they start to get confused and overwhelmed. I don’t know why, but that’s how it is.

2. Once you have written it all down, you will already be starting to relax. Now, review each item and write next to it, the first letter of the day the item is meant to be done. (i.e. T – Tuesday, F – Friday) You will see that there are items that are actually required to be done tomorrow or at a later date, however, if you have not planned your week and your day, they will all be in your head stressing you out because you need to remember to do them in 3 days or what ever time.

If you plan your week and your days, you will already have them down on a plan to do on the specific day they need to be done, and they will not be creating confusion in your head.

3. Now you have the list and what day each tasks on the list needs to be done by. Again, review each item, write down how long you expect they will take to do and write down who should be carrying out the task.

Remember, a good manager/leader understand the art of delegation. I see many centre owners and directors doing tasks that team members should be doing. The rule is, “you should only do, what only you should do.” The rest needs to be delegated to team members.

4. You will now have a list of activities that were, overwhelming you, listed out on paper, with a clear plan of when they will be done and by whom. You also have an estimated time it will take to do each one.

5. All you need to do now is focus on the items due to be completed today. Delegate the tasks that other team members can do, then prioritise the tasks you are required to do and then start by doing number one tasks first.


Over the years of coaching childcare centre owners, directors and other business owners, I have had many occasions when I have arrived for a coaching session, only to find the centre owner, director, or business owner in a state of overwhelm because they have all of these things running around in their head and are stressing because, in their mind, it all needs to be done, at once.

What I had originally planned for the coaching session is put on hold and I would take them through this process. When I leave, they have a clear understanding of everything that was creating all this stress, how to deal with it and a plan to get all of the tasks completed.

If you find yourself totally overwhelmed by all of the things you have to do, just follow this process and within 15 to 20 minutes, you will have it all sorted out, and things back under control. 

Have a great week.

Peter Johnson – The Time Retriever



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