7 Soothing Techniques to Overcome Overwhelm of Prioritizing


If you’ve ever stumbled upon any personal development, self-help, or success books or training, there’s a good chance prioritizing comes up. Learning this skill to focus on what matters to you makes life more fulfilling and enjoyable.

Overcoming the overwhelm of prioritization requires commitment and consistency. Practice, repetition, and constantly reviewing personal values that align with the tasks at hand will reduce stress, increase productivity, and improve overall well-being.

By the end of this article, you will understand the importance of prioritizing, what makes it difficult, and how to overcome it.

What is Prioritization?

Prioritization is deciding what in your life is more important than the other. Choosing where to spend your time and energy is what you choose to make important.

Task prioritization is deciding which tasks on your list are more important than the other, and then organizing in sequence which tasks must be completed first. Generally, the most important, high-value, and impactful tasks should be scheduled to be completed first.

Why Do People Struggle With Prioritization?

There are numerous reasons why people struggle with prioritization, one of them is that everything can feel important, which leads to overwhelm and ultimately procrastination. When we procrastinate, the pile gets bigger and bigger and then leaves us feeling stressed.

Read here how to prioritize when everything feels important.

Prioritizing can easily get overwhelming when there are too many tasks to start organizing, or the task itself is too demanding or large to tackle.

“When you have too many priorities, you effectively have no top priorities”

Stephen Covey

Life pulls us in many directions with many parts of our lives we have to balance, such as social life, relationships, or careers. Having to focus on one area can create guilt for neglecting another area. That’s the challenge with prioritizing, sacrifices have to be made.

Prioritization is difficult because there is no universal answer. The essence of the skill can be taught, but ultimately it’s up to the person to make their own choices as they apply it to their own life. No one can tell you what to make important, you have 100% full control of your life decisions.

What’s important to one person may not be important to another. That’s another challenge in itself, a lot of people don’t know who they are, what they like or don’t like, or what their values are to choose what to focus on.

Another big factor that affects struggling with procrastination is burnout. Burnout can be the result of many things, but it can happen when you try to juggle too many things for too long and forget to sit down and take a breather.

Nothing is more important than your health. Prioritizing and time management are tools to help you and allow you to focus more on your mental and physical health so you can continue reaching the goals you set for yourself.

What Skills Do You Need to Prioritize?

Organized Schedule for Prioritizing

There are two important skills to prioritizing and they are time management and organization. You can’t have one without the other, and when they work together, they create peace and balance.

Time management is making the most efficient use of time by planning and organizing tasks and activities. Knowing what to focus on, when, and for how long will help you succeed, not only in the office but in your life as well.

Read here signs of poor time management and major reasons we struggle.

Organization is the other skill that needs to work in tandem with time management. When our environment is organized, our mind is organized too. Keeping things in order reduces stress and overwhelm. Find the best tools to keep everything in order whether that be your phone, a physical planner, your iPad, laptop, etc., and stick to it.

Here are some organization techniques for managing tasks:

These two skills can be applied everywhere, it’s great for managing projects, individual daily tasks, and even managing people if you are a leader or manager at work or even if you are a parent managing a family.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”

Stephen Covey

What is The Most Important Step in Prioritizing?

There are many steps to prioritizing, but the most important step is deciding what to make important. This is the only step that requires thinking, besides doing the actual task. Choosing the order of tasks to focus on can be the difference between being productive and being busy wasting time.

You don’t have to schedule a full day to be productive, and a full day of being busy does not necessarily mean you are productive. Read here to know the difference between busy and productive.

No one wants to waste time, so the decision-making objectives should be established before starting. Using decision-making charts like the Eisenhower Matrix is a useful method for helping decide. Establish if the tasks are truly worth the time and if they are essential or not.

Have your goals and values visible when you are prioritizing and see if they align. Do the tasks directly help you reach your goals?

“The main thins is to keep the main thing the main thing”

Stephen Covey

How Do You Prioritize When You Are Overwhelmed?

Overcome Overwhelm

Prioritizing and organizing can feel like the last thing you want to do if you are overwhelmed. While it will help you be less overwhelmed in the long term, the most important thing is to listen to your body first. Take a minute to step back, relax, and reflect when you start feeling overwhelmed.

Create a calming routine for yourself when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Sometimes we work too hard for too long and forget to take care of ourselves, which is most important. Find healthy coping mechanisms like meditating, journaling, stretching, taking a bath, going for a walk, etc.

Be kind to yourself and know that you are doing the best you can. Don’t talk down to yourself, use encouraging words, and stay positive in your mind. Forgive yourself and be your own biggest cheerleader.

Reflect on your journey, look at where you started compared to where you are now. Look at all your accomplishments. This process is a journey, not a destination.

Have your goals and values visible, visit these goals and values often to remind yourself why you are doing it in the first place. Be proud of yourself for even having goals and ambitions, that’s already an accomplishment in itself.

Don’t be afraid to say no, don’t forget that you are allowed to say no. You don’t always have to take on every task, go to every event, or be part of things that don’t add any value to you or your time.

Understand it doesn’t have to be permanent, if you made a decision, you are allowed to change it. Prioritizing is simply a tool to help guide us, it’s completely customizable to our needs. It’s natural for unexpected things to pop up.

Remember that you are human, and humans have control. We are not emotionless robots or working machines. Take care of your health, take frequent breaks when needed, and listen to your body.

Hong Singer

I'm the creator of Ambition Forward. I keep things simple by focusing on the goal and being consistent in my actions to get the results I want, and I'm here to help you do the same. I encourage you to look for the things that bring you joy and go for it!

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