overwhelm image

Did you ever have one of those days when you feel like you have so much to do but don't know where to start?

It's not a great feeling, is it?

It happens to us all, even people like me who study productivity and understand the potential pitfalls.

Like last night, I found myself staring at my computer, at a loss as to where to start.

I found myself alternating between checking my email, Facebook, and my commission ledger from some cool affiliate products I'm marketing.

As a Part Time Marketer, I understand the importance of every spare minute I have to work on my home business.

I have several projects I'm working on right now, and sometimes I just can't put all the pieces together in my mind.

After a while, I felt the muscles in my neck tighten up, my jaw started to clench and a feeling like I couldn't breathe — these are telltale signs of stress for me.

It surprised me at first, and then I realized I was getting stressed out because I hadn't gotten anything done for the last hour.

Have you ever felt like that?

Many people, in this circumstance throw up their hands and give up for the night, convinced that tomorrow will be a better day.  And sometimes that's true.

My own experience tells me that if you don't deal with it, if you “leave it for another day”, that day will come and the problem will still be there.

But there's hope!

Don't worry, I won't leave you in a place like that.

I've figured out what works for me when this happens and I want to share it with you.

What to Do First?  Try this…

1.  Disconnect… for a while

If you find yourself unable to get going and simply wasting your time on unproductive tasks, break free for a while and go do something else.  It will help clear your head.

For me, I usually jump on my treadmill for 30 minutes, but you can do whatever it is that distracts your mind.  Just don't wait too long to get back.

2.  Make a List

Now, let's get back to work.  If you find that clearing your head didn't help your dilemma, it's a good idea to make a list of all the things that you have in your mind that you could do for your business right now.

I'm not talking about major projects that would take weeks or months to finish.  Hopefully, you've broken down those projects into smaller pieces, some of which you could accomplish right now.

If not, that's something you should do ASAP.

Making a list will help you bring focus back into the picture and you'll start to feel your overwhelm decline.

3.  Consider the Impact

Now that you have your list, look at it critically.  For each item on your list, ask yourself this question:

“How much will this task impact my business?”

or you could ask….

“How important is this task right now? “

For example, checking my email has far less impact on my business than creating a sales page for a product.

Be super critical here and it's likely that the most important task for you to take on will jump right off your page.

4.  Get Outside Help

But what if it doesn't?  What if the above exercise doesn't help you?

Then it's time to call in some outside help.

You have a few options here:

  • Talk to your coach or mentor if you have one.
  • Talk to your accountability partner if you have one.
  • Ask for some help online from people you trust, like a mastermind group.
  • Join some great Facebook groups that offer support to it's members.

When you've taken these steps, you should be back on the path of extreme productivity!

Writing this blog post has helped me clarify my own needs, so I'm off to get some work done.

If you want some more tips on how to be more productive when you have limited time to build your business, be sure to grab my free ebook, 10 Steps to Being More Productive with your Limited Time.

It's part of my Part Time Entrepreneurs Success Kit, which you get for free, just for being on my list.

You can grab your Success Kit here.

    20 replies to "Don’t You Hate It When THIS Happens?"

    • Marika

      Great post Bob! I used to be like this all the time….still sometimes. What makes a huge difference for me is writing down a list what to do each day. Taking a break is also a great way to get more focused..I go to the gym.

      Loved reading this:)

      Thanks Bob


    • Cat Alexandra

      Hi Bob,

      Oh Time Management seems to be a huge theme for everything I’m seeing and doing this week! I think that this is one of those subjects that is always in our face, even when we do not realize it. lol

      The “DISCONNECT” advice is some of the soundest I’ve seen.

      I think that once we are able to truly focus our attention on one task at hand, prior to moving onto others, we get so much more done.

      Consolidation is one of my key words this year. Consolidate tasks into little compartments and fire them off one at a time, with exclusive attention to details only relevant to the subject at hand. So far it’s workin like a charm! 😉

      Great job on this one!


    • sean

      Dr. Bob-

      Great article! I hate hitting that wall. You have some great suggestions. First disconnecting. I am going to start doing some brief exercising when I feel that since of not being able to do anything and then I am going to make a list. Write down what I need to get done so I have a visual plan in front of me.

      Really looking forward to utilizing these techniques.



    • Cristian Balau

      I just hate when that happens. It usually comes as a few days in a row. I have tons of work but I’m absolutely wasting every second of the day, on facebook, watching and reading crap and also playing computers games. Lots of distractions…
      I usually “wake up” just before the deadline and I work myself till I crash. Not that good for my health…

    • Daria

      I’m just made pleased I discovered this web page. Maybe you’d like to place a banner on my blogroll? How can I contact you on private?

    • Bryan

      This is great advice, especially for new bloggers who can easily get overwhelmed by all we have to learn and do to get a successful blog running.

      I keep a running TODO list that I update whenever I get an idea, or read about something that I should incorporate in my blog. If I find myself in that “stuck” mode, I just check the list and start picking things to work on. I break larger projects into easily achievable tasks so the list won’t end up turning into a big obstacle to getting started.

      Thanks Bob.

    • Julie

      Although I know that hate is a necessary element of the human being ( it is the opposite of love, and things aren’t real without their opposites), but sometimes I really get sick of it all. Your tips could be really useful to handle the hate when it comes with a rush.

    • Cathy Barnhard

      Quite frankly that is how Iwouild approach the problem. You really do have to take break from the problem , break it down and exxamine the implication of not completing each part, then priotiize them in order of most important.

    • Amit

      Hi Bob ..That’s really great article..you have covered great points

    • Sylviane Nuccio

      Hi Bob,

      As soon as I started to read you post, I recognized myself! Yes, it happens to everyone and I am also a student and practitioner of time and energy optimization, so to speak, but it doesn’t matter. We all have those moments.

      When that happens I feel exactly like you, my stress shows up with a painful tingling behind my neck at the base.

      My best medicine is also similar to yours, I usually go take a walk or sometimes start some house shores. House shores is such good therapy for me

      Thanks for those great tips, Bob, very useful

    • Donna Merrill

      Great information Bob! I think we all have those days. These are great points that you have brought out that will lead people in a great direction.
      Sometimes when that happens to me, instead of pulling my hair out of my head, I take a little break. Not a big one…because then I get too anxious …. I just close my eyes for five to ten minutes and do some breathing exercises. I push all thoughts from my mind and keep on concentrating on my breath. It does take a while to do it correctly, but with practice, It just becomes part of you.
      It works for me and It works fast. That’s what I like about it. Well, that’s my two cents!

    • Alex

      Great article! This would be great advice for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed. Thanks for sharing!

    • EleonoraEOF

      Thanks for these useful tips Bob. Actually, i often find myself staring at something without knowing where to start and what to do. This happens when we are too busy, and we just dont know where to begin. The “disconnect” thing is always a solution for me. 🙂

    • Timo Kiander


      Great advice!

      Taking some distance (point #1) is the most effective for me. Many times when I shut down my computer and exercise, my head is cleared and I’m able to see what task to choose next.

      As long as I’m not actively thinking about the situation, a solution pops into my head all of a sudden.


    • Marshall Davis

      I don’t find walking away at night helps any. As a matter of fact, it generally leads me to getting a poor nights sleep. I do find that small breaks do help. My wife and I have a routine in the afternoon where we go ‘outside for five’ and just wander around the yard, letting our minds clear.

      Regarding point #2 – Make a list, I certainly need to do this more. I have a list in my mind, but that doesn’t seem to help. I know what needs to get done, yet at the end of the day things are not complete.

      Maybe if I actually commit the list to paper I will be more productive. I think a major issue is having TOO much on my mental list for each day. That and being easily distractive with social media, my RSS feed, email, etc.

      Off to commit my list to paper…

    • Pauline

      Thanks for the tips Bob, I have the same thing happen to me a few times, I sit there and sometimes my mind goes blank, I think I must get on and work through my list but I think I will just check my emails, Facebook etc and then before I know it a couple of hours have passed by!
      I usually go out for a walk to the beach to clear my head and re-focus!
      Have a great day

    • Stephen Peters

      Hi Bob,

      When Your not getting things done the act of putting your random thoughts on paper can help to get you centered. It doesn’t seem like it would be that affective but it is a wonderful tool to get organized. Thanks for the reminder.


    • Ryan Biddulph

      Love your tips Bob.

      Unplugging does wonders for me. I sit, meditate, exercise, affirm, whatever it takes to let go.

      When I let go, I grow. The right idea hits me, or I attract the right person, or circumstance. Like magic, it seems, but it is literally how we are designed. The god-like part of us attract whatever we need to manifest the life of our dreams, if we are letting to let go, disconnect and detach from everything, including outcomes.

      Thanks for sharing your insight Bob!


    • Nicky

      This has happened to me more times than I would like! – I find I am so much more productive when I have created a list the night before of everything I need to get done in the day or week ahead. I then section the list exactly as you suggest above into the most important based on if they are going to move my business forward, or are going to increase revenue.

      I hover between facebook, email, skype and commissions page so switching them off and allowing myself a certain amount of time per task is very useful. A fellow blogger told me about http://e.ggtimer.com which when you set it to go……. I get super productive!

      Great post Bob – I think everyone suffers from this at some point, but I like the way you jump on the treadmill – my gym is just a 2 minute drive from where I live, so I think I should do the same !


    • Adrienne

      Great advice Bob!

      I usually have to just get up and go do something else. I just have to focus on other tasks and completely get my mind off of what I was doing. That’s happened to me more times then I care to think.

      I think I’ve only had a few instances of when I returned to that task that I still couldn’t think of what I wanted to do so I would save that for another day. Luckily for me, my mind has cleared and I’m raring to go.

      Really great tips though to help with that so maybe the next time, if it’s not too terribly late, I’ll call a good friend that can help me with perhaps giving me a jump start to what I’m doing. Most of the time though, it’s way too late to do that.

      Hope you’re week is going well and you and Rosemary had a wonderful Valentine’s.


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