Four Ways to Overcome Overwhelm

You know that feeling when just thinking about your creative project stresses you out? Where there's just so much to do, and you don't know where to start? So you put it out of your mind for a while, compounding the stress?

Well, that's creative overwhelm.

It's a common experience, and it's an indication that you care deeply about your creative work. If the work didn't matter to you, and didn't have a place of importance in your life, it wouldn't weigh quite so heavily.

And even though the overwhelm can feel as daunting as the tasks in front of you, there are ways to move through it.

1. Make a big ol' list

Get some paper and do a brain dump. It can take the form of a list, a mind map, or whatever feels good to you.

Getting the information that's rattling around in your head down on paper is a great first step in decreasing overwhelm. Just seeing it all in front of you helps clarify it, and frees up space in your mind.

2. Break your actions down

For every action that needs to be taken, break it down. Now break it down even smaller than that. Now smaller.

You might have to do this a bunch of times, but if you break an action down into tiny, do-able steps, you relieve yourself of a lot of pressure.

Not only that, but if you break steps down small enough, it seems almost silly not to do at least one. So you might as well. And once you do, well, now you've started!

This deceptively simple trick creates momentum, and before you know it, you'll have done more than you'd ever have anticipated.

3. Do the fun stuff first

We're taught to get the hard stuff out of the way. To just buckle down and do it, and then move on to the stuff we like.

Trouble is, when you're overwhelmed, trying to do the tough stuff first often leads to procrastination and an increase of stress.