How to tackle wedding overwhelm in 5 easy steps

It’s that time of year again where there are about a million things to do and a lot of added stress.  On top of it, Jonny and I are planning an amazing wedding adventure for our week-long wedding in Belize that starts at the end of January.  We have almost 80 people joining us, and because we used to live there, we are putting on a week of unique and amazing adventures that people are going to love.  We are filled with gratitude that 80 of our closest friends and family are coming down for our wedding….though at times, the organizing, planning and follow-up with people is incredibly stressful. The other day I found myself getting super stressed out about everything that we have to do, and I could feel my chest getting tight and my thoughts becoming negative and I knew that if I didn’t do something quick I was going to hit total overwhelm and shut down. I knew in that moment that I had to use one of my favorite coaching tools for overwhelm – The Brain Dump.  This continues to be one of my favorite exercises that I use for myself and my clients when there is a feeling of stress and having too much to do.  It is super simple, and incredibly effective.

Here is how you do it….. 5 Simple Steps to Managing Overwhelm:

  1. Set aside at least 15 minutes to do your brain dump. Silence your phone and all other distractions so that you can use this time to really focus and get everything that is in your head out onto paper.
  2. Write down everything you need to do, down to the the very last detail.  These things don’t need to be in order (in fact they shouldn’t be at this step!), just let it all flow out.   Put everything that is swimming around in your head down on paper.  Here is my example below – I had two pages of things that I needed to do, yet hadn’t written it all down yet.  No wonder I was feeling stressed!  These two pages of things to do were swimming around in my head, creating a ton of overwhelm.Wedding Blog - Notebook shot 
  3. If you have a large list of things to do such as mine, then group them into categories.  At this point, I moved my list over to the computer because I didn’t want to re-write it all by hand again.  I love using Microsoft OneNote as it helps me to organize my thoughts in a really easy and efficient manner.  I broke down everything that we needed to do for the wedding into different tabs, helping to make it much more manageable than if it were all together on one list.
    Wedding Blog - One Note Screen Shot

    My OneNote Screen

     

  4. Break down what you need to do in order of importance.  I like grouping these into lists of 4 things to do at a time, otherwise if I have a list of to-dos that is like 10 things long, it gets overwhelming again. When going through your tasks, start with the most important and time-sensitive things first and complete those before moving on to the second and third grouping.  Don’t work on the other things (even if they are more fun) until the most important things on your to-do list are completed!  Create self-discipline in this and it will help you tremendously in the long run.
  5. Take action! Complete what is on your list! Celebrate whenever you get to cross something off!  And if necessary once this list is done, repeat steps 1-5 again!

Congratulations! You are on your way to decreasing your overwhelm and becoming more in control of your life!