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Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of business and life.  However, if left unchecked, feeling overwhelmed can make you feel helpless, stuck, and unable to take action.

When you experience overwhelm, it feels all-consuming.  We all feel overwhelmed with expectations and having too much do to and too little time to do it.  Feelings of overwhelm can affect your confidence, focus, and productivity.

Overwhelm can make you feel paralysed, trapped, stressed, and unable to cope.  Even on a good day, life can feel overwhelming.  In our busy lives it’s easy to experience feelings of overwhelm with all of the complexity and complication that happens around us.

If you’ve recently said “I’m overwhelmed” or “I feel stuck”, here are six steps to take to stop feeling overwhelmed and get unstuck.   When you can stop feeling overwhelmed, you feel clear, less stressed, and more confident.

Here are 7 tips to stop feeling stuck.

What does it mean to feel overwhelmed? 

Feeling overwhelmed means not being in control and being unsure what step to take next.  When you feel overwhelmed, it is easy to feel paralysed, stressed, and trapped.

Overwhelm causes us to feel stuck and unable to focus or take decisive action.  We often feel overwhelmed when we have too many choices to make or too many things to do.

What causes you to feel overwhelmed?

Overwhelm can be caused by stress, personal experiences, and a feeling of having too much going on.  Feelings of overwhelm can affect your ability to think clearly and take action.  If you feel overwhelmed, it can prevent you from focusing clearly.

When you feel overwhelmed, it prevents you from identifying and working on your most important activities.  Overwhelm can be caused by long to-do lists, impending deadlines, relationship issues, emotions, trying to do too much, or feeling there isn’t enough time in the day.

How to stop feeling overwhelmed 

Here are 6 tips to stop feeling overwhelmed.

1. Identify the source of overwhelm 

Feeling overwhelmed is a temporary feeling. Take ownership of your feelings of being overwhelmed and take responsibility for accepting to do all of the things that make you feel overwhelmed.

You may have taken on too much work, which creates overwhelm.  You may have too much going on in your life, creating overwhelming feelings.

Instead of planning effectively, you may have given yourself too tight deadlines to get things done.

If you are running from meeting to meeting, handling multiple projects, and not giving attention and focus to the ones that matter, you will feel overwhelmed.

Instead of doing everything, take a step back and get clear on the projects, people, and activities that create the biggest impact.  Read more about how to stop feeling overwhelmed at work

2. Set boundaries around your time 

We often feel overwhelmed when we feel we don’t have enough time.  But, we are more in control of our time than we think.

We feel overwhelmed when we have lots of projects to work on and impending deadlines.  But, you can make changes to give yourself some time to think and focus.

Even though you may have many projects to work on, you can create space to think and plan.  Buy yourself more time by finding colleagues to take on some of the work.

If you don’t have high levels of energy and focus, you won’t be as productive as you could be.  You can create more time by saying no to a project or delegating.

Read more about how to manage time effectively.

3. Stop comparing to stop overwhelm 

Overwhelming feelings get amplified when we compare ourselves to others and take on everything because others do the same thing.

We take on too much because we don’t want to miss opportunities or disappoint our bosses, our loved ones, or our friends.  When we experience fear of missing out, we can feel overwhelmed.

We sometimes feel like we should say yes to everything, to take on everything.  But if we gave ourselves some headspace to reflect, we would say no more often.

If we are more intentional about what we can control and what we can do in the present moment, we feel calmer and more resourceful.

4. Change your perspective 

When you feel overwhelmed you get wrapped up in the moment and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You can’t see a present and future that’s not full of constant tasks, commitments, projects, and overwhelm.  Learn to be present in the moment and to be intentional with your time.

Feeling overwhelmed is the best time to step back, reflect, and think about what you have achieved and want to achieve during this busy period.  Ask yourself what lessons you can learn that can help you move forward in the right way.

When you feel overwhelmed, take time to understand and reflect on your experience and look at the positives.

A positive frame of mind puts you in an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset.

5. Identify your priorities 

We feel overwhelmed when we have too much on.  Too much to do leads to multi-tasking, which can sap our energy levels and focus.

Your workload may look impossible.  To avoid overwhelm, focus on your priorities first to help you feel like you’re making progress.  One productivity tip to help you stop feeling overwhelmed is to reflect at the end of the day on everything that you achieved.

Pick three things that went well.  Think about the next day and the three things that you want to achieve that day.

If you focus on achievement and progress rather than the sheer weight of work, you will stay motivated and energised rather than feeling overwhelmed.  Read more about how to be more productive.

6. Focus on rest and rejuvenation

I learned this lesson a long time ago, and it has helped me through any busy period.  Rest and rejuvenation are essential for doing your most productive work and stop you from feeling overwhelmed.

I can take on most things if I feel energised and had a good nights’ sleep.  We all have different periods of the day where we seem to work a bit better.  For me, it is the morning.  For you, it may be in the evening.

If you feel tired, you lose motivation and perspective.  Things often feel bigger than they are.  When you’re overworked it’s easy to become distracted.

Also, if you are feeling overwhelmed, take yourself out of the situation, and give yourself five minutes to think it through.  Go for a walk, go to the gym, meditate – whatever works for you to get focused.

If you feel tired all the time, use these tips to overcome tiredness.


Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of life, but if you think your overwhelm is all-consuming, it’s time to take some action.  These 6 tips will help you stop feeling overwhelmed and create greater clarity and balance in your life.

If you are feel constantly overwhelmed, identify the source of overwhelm, set better goals, and create boundaries around your time and workload.

When you feel overwhelmed, get some perspective on your overwhelm.  When you’re feeling overwhelmed, find someone to talk to and take some time out for rest and rejuvenation.

Now I’d love to hear from you

What’s the one thing that creates the most overwhelm for you?

What’s your best tip for getting out of overwhelm?

Let me know in the comments.

Further reading 

11 simple tips to deal with overwhelm

About the Author

Mark Pettit is a business coach and accountability coach based in Colchester, Essex, UK.  He is the Founder of the accountability coaching company Lucemi Consulting.

Mark provides accountability coaching programs and business coaching programs to entrepreneurs and business owners in the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia.

Get more tips to overcome overwhelm and be more productive on the blog.

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Productivity Planner by Mark Pettit of Lucemi Consulting

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