The thing about being a mom is that we seem to consistently take on too much responsibility. I mean I am all about being consistent in most aspects of life. I try to write consistent blog posts, I have consistent output at work, and I give consistent attention to the kiddos.
However, taking on too much is not something we should be consistent with. Having too much on your plate can cause stress for you and your family and can leave you with no time for yourself. No one wants that.
What does too much on my plate mean?
First off, what are we talking about here? Let’s define having too much on our plate.
Having too much on our plate means we are too busy. We have too many things to deal with or a lot of things to worry about. This expression is used to signify that a person has too many different things to cope with.
Having too much on your plate isn’t the same as having a full life. This expression implies not only a lot to do, but also a sense of overwhelm.
You can have a job, take care of kids, and hang out with friends and not feel overwhelmed. But add on a volunteer event and now the stress sets in. You have officially stepped into dangerous territory.
So what can you do?
Below are steps you can take to reduce the overwhelm and get back to having a full but not so stressed life.
What do you do if you have too much on your plate?
Grab a Scheduler and Start Planning
The best way to ease the stress of having too much to do is to create a plan of attack. Whip out your scheduler or planner, even if you haven’t actually looked at it in a while, and start inputting the things you have to do.
Start with the set in stone things like meetings and appointments. Fit your other must do tasks around those things. It helps to first brainstorm everything that needs to get done into a long list and then transfer things from that list onto the calendar.
When you have a plan of attack and know when things will get done, they don’t have to hang over your head causing you stress. This totally frees up your brain power to actually completing tasks instead of thinking about everything else you have to do.
2. Focus on One Thing at a Time
This leads me to my second tip which is to focus on one thing at a time. When you are able to focus solely on the task at hand, you are able to be more efficient at completing that task.
You save time by not having to switch between activities which has been proven to waste time. Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.
The other benefit is that when you focus on one task and get it done, you are able to check it off your list. That’s one less thing left to do. Plus, you get to feel accomplished for having completed something.
3. Learn to Say NO
Sometimes despite your best intentions, it’s just not possible to do all the things you want to commit to at the same time. In this case you need to just say no.
Admittedly, this can be super hard. I mean no one likes letting someone down. At the same time, by not declining something you may still let the person down by not being able to devote the necessary time and effort needed to complete the task.
Thinking about it this way, you may disappoint someone now by saying no, but at least they then have the time to re-assign the task to someone who will do the job well.
If you need help figuring out how to say no to different activities, check out this post on saying no to over-commitment.
Related Post: 33 Expert Tips to Help Overwhelmed Moms Save Time
4. Ask For Help
If you just can’t say no to something but you also truly don’t have the time to do it yourself, ask for help. There is no rule that says that we have to do everything ourselves. When they say it takes a village, they weren’t kidding.
If you are at work, delegate tasks. At home, ask your spouse to help you out. Don’t just throw your list of to dos onto him though. Explain that you are feeling overwhelmed, list out all the things on your plate. Odds are, he will volunteer to help you out.
If not, at that point ask if he is able to take a thing or two off your plate so you can focus on your other tasks.
You can also enlist the help of friends and family and even your kids. The kids may not be able to help with the big pressing tasks you have, but they can likely take on some of the menial tasks that generally take up your time.
When you have a number of things that need to get done and they all seem equally urgent, it’s hard to decide what to tackle first. Instead prioritize your tasks and then go about completing them in that order.
For example, I value a healthy home cooked meal as much as the next mama, but a strict deadline may mean I don’t have time to run to the grocery store on my lunch break. In this case the deadline is the priority and dinner may end up being take out or leftovers.
While I don’t want that to be my everyday, it’s OK if it happens once in a while.
6. Get Sleep
Sleep is one of those things that we don’t think about, but has a huge impact on our energy, and mental capacity throughout the day.
I mean it’s so easy to see sleep as time doing nothing, a time waster. But in fact, sleep is so important. It's a time when our bodies heal themselves, file away our thoughts, clear out brain toxins, and rejuvenate.
The fact is that without sufficient sleep we just don’t function as well and can really end up wasting more time with brain fog, and low energy. So, make time for that sleep.
7. Eat Healthy Foods
The thing about food is that if it is not helping, it’s hurting. Food is medicine. It heals. That is if you are eating the right kinds of foods.
You don’t have to go crazy with this, but make sure you are drinking lots of water, try to eat foods as close as possible to their natural state, and try to reduce sugar as much as possible.
These three things can go a really long way to increasing your mental and physical energy so that you have the power to attack your to dos instead of being dragged through them.
Let’s start out by saying that exercise doesn’t have to be torture. In fact, it can actually be fun! This is more about just getting your body moving than doing any particular workout. Do what makes you feel good.
I love having a dance party with the kiddos or just by myself. You can break up your day by going for a 10 minute walk or just stopping and doing 100 jumping jacks.
Exercise can help you clear your mind and can actually increase your energy. It is a great way to give yourself a boost when you wake up or when you are feeling that afternoon slump.
9. Make Time to Relax
Giving yourself a break is essential to make sure you are able to get things done. Without a break, working nonstop to get everything done can lead to burnout. Doing that can leave you completely unable to do anything.
By giving yourself a break, you allow yourself to recharge. I might mean a slight delay in getting things done, but at least you will still be able to do it. Plus you will feel a whole lot better once you relax a bit.
Remember too much stress all the time is soo not good for you!
10. Find the One Thing
This one is a little next level, but if you are ready for it, here it is. Look at all the things that you need to get done. Is there one thing that by doing it, the other things become easier or even unnecessary?
For example, meal prepping is one thing that can be done on Sunday that makes coming up with meals each day and prepping those meals unnecessary. Once you have a plan and have prepped everything , all you have to do each night is cook.
Find other things in your to dos such that the first thing will make everything else easier or unnecessary and do that thing first.
11. Stop Thinking and Start Doing
Once you have a plan in place, the most important thing is to stop thinking and start doing. In order to decrease the amount of things on your plate, the best thing to do is to actually get them done.
Once you have a plan, thinking about the laundry list of to dos just wastes time. Take action and little by little you will start checking things off your list.
What do you do to help yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed? Let me know in the comments!