Exercise for working with overwhelm

Written by Eileen Hopkins

My road to counselling and psychotherapy has been interesting. Having worked in a caring profession, nursing for over 30 years, I was always at my happiest when interacting with my patients & I have always been a people person.

Exercise for working with overwhelm


Stephen Covey talks about setting your Most Important Tasks of the day. This has been one of the single most effective tools that I teach my clients when they are in overwhelm.
Have you ever asked the question;


“How on earth am I going to pull all of this off?”


All you can see is this ever-increasing pile of stuff on your to-do list, there are countless email notifications pinging in constantly to remind you, and you feel as if you’re drowning. The reality is that you probably won’t be out of control of every area in your life, it just feels like that.


I would encourage you to try this exercise:


  • Write down on a piece of paper every single thing you need to do. Leave nothing off the list – this is about getting you out of your head onto paper
  • Next, go through the list and pick out your top 3 priorities
  • Once you have your top 3 priorities, you can start working on the priority, and then the next and the next
  • Remember to focus on ONE thing at a time.

If you want to, you can also categorize the different priorities into helpful groups – which can help you to recognize where your time is going
If you find it hard to prioritize then you can ask yourself these three questions:

  • Be specific – What is the actual problem you’re facing?
  • Get clarity – Which issues seem the most important or challenging?
  • Check the impact – Which issue, when resolved, will have the greatest positive impact?

Once you know the answer to these questions, it’s easier to prioritize.

You may also like…