Ditch the Overwhelm with These 5 Effective Self-Management Strategies

A Guest Post by Angie McNulty, Certified Life Coach

As a mother of three, with a husband, two dogs, a full-time job and my coaching business, I totally understand being overwhelmed. When the responsibilities and to do list are longer than the hours in a day – it’s overwhelming! Here are five tips to make life more manageable.

Strategy #1: Use Trello (And Don't Look Back)

Where has this tool been all my life?! This has been such a life changer for me. It keeps my mind organized, as you can prioritize your day, projects, work -- anything your heart desires. In a way Trello reminds me of Pinterest: You create boards and add to them. In Trello you create a board (your topic) then add lists to your board. I usually keep my lists pretty simple: To Do, Doing, Done. Under those lists I add my tasks (Trello calls them cards).

This is a great visual to really see everything that you have to do.  I only add 1-3 things at a time to my 'Doing' list, and don’t add any more until these items have been moved to the 'Done' list. If priorities change, that’s easy to update! Just move one item back over to the 'To Do' list and move another item over to the 'Doing' list.

I started with the free version which works really well, and I encourage you to try it out and see how it works for you.

https://trello.com/angie14178553/recommend *This is an affiliate link; I'll receive one free month of access if you use this link to register. (Thank you!)

Strategy #2: List Your "Top Three" For the Day

As I mentioned above, when I am creating my 'Doing' list, I put no more than three tasks on that list at a time. Choose your top three that you want to get done for the day, and it’s amazing how accomplished you will feel after getting those done! For me, when I am checking things off my list, I usually get more energized and can take on 1 or 2 more items for the day. But if there are days that you can only get your top three done (or even just your top two), don’t beat yourself up. Instead, look at what did get accomplished for the day!

Strategy #3: Celebrate Your Success

It is easy to overlook even the simple things we get done. Oh, that was no big deal. I just did what has to be done. If I don’t do it, no one else will. Then we move on to the next task. But believe me: If we didn’t get some of these things done, people would start to notice. What if we stopped doing dishes or laundry for the week? That would get noticed pretty quickly!

Funny story: My husband had a hard time finding the laundry basket, so I told him I wouldn’t wash anything that didn’t get put into the basket. This lasted about a month. (Yes, it was really hard to ignore all the clothes on the floor throughout the house!) I started wondering how he was going without clean underwear or socks. Come to find out, he just kept buying more. I can laugh about it now, but it was not funny at the time!

So, be gentle on yourself.  Take just one minute as you cross off a task and celebrate what you've accomplished. All these smaller tasks (your baby steps) lead to a larger win. Reward yourself for those! It can be something small like taking the time for a bubble bath, or larger like going on vacation to somewhere you have always wanted to go. Whatever it may be, ENJOY!

Strategy #4: Practice Gratitude

One of the best ways I know how to overcome the overwhelm is to take a moment to express gratitude. Not sure what to be grateful for? Start off simple and small. Be thankful for the fresh air you have to breathe, for the clean water you have to drink, family, friends, etc. Find even just one thing to be grateful for but try to come up with a list of 3-5 things you're grateful for every day. As you are coming up with your list, make sure to say something different each day. You can either say your list out loud or keep a gratitude journal; However you prefer to express your gratitude!

As you start to practice gratitude, try to take a moment -- just five seconds -- to express your gratitude in the exact moment you feel thankful for something. Just say thank you for this moment. You will start to notice a shift in how you look at your day.

Strategy #5: Try Meditation

Just 3-5 minutes a day of silence can really change how you approach your day. This really helps to get you centered and clear your mind. I have trouble with my mind wandering, so I like to do a guided meditation. Just do whatever works for you! Even if it’s just sitting, letting your mind do its own thing for a couple minutes. I find that doing a brain dump before meditating can really help to clear your thoughts first. (You can find out more on brain dumps in my free guide, 5 Tips to Overcome the Overwhelm)

I know you’re probably thinking, I need to manage the To-Do's I already have, I don’t need to add to them! I thought I didn't (and sometimes still think I don’t) have time for gratitude and meditation. But I notice a big difference in my day if I don’t do these exercises. I actually feel more overwhelmed if I don’t do them! To start, just choose one: practicing gratitude or meditation. Set a timer for one minute a day to practice. Do this for the next 30 days just to see how it goes. I would love to hear if it changes anything for you.

Remember, it takes baby steps to reach your destination. So, break it down to those top three tasks each day, and see how far you will go in the next 30 days. That’s 90 things checked off your To-Do list in just one month! You can do this!

For more tips on overcoming the overwhelm check out my free guide, 5 Tips to Overcome the Overwhelm!


Angie McNulty is a certified life coach and founder of McNulty Coaching Services. With the stress of many roles, she has found a true passion in helping Christian women find peace and balance, so they can more joyfully live out their passions and fulfill their life purpose.

With McNulty Coaching Services, You Can...

  • Take steps to bring peace and balance in your life.
  • Discover or rediscover your God-given gifts and talents, and how you can use them to enhance your work and personal life.
  • Explore your values and determine which are your top 5.
  • Learn to make decisions based on your values.
  • Find what obstacles are getting in the way of living your life of purpose.
  • Replace old habits with new to have a more positive, balanced life.
  • Set goals and create action steps to reach them.

Through McNulty Coaching Services, you can live your most fulfilling life; The life you were always intended to live. I invite you to come and ignite the fire within your soul!