Overwhelm Paralysis? How to Overcome It

Overwhelm Paralysis? How to Overcome It

You have a French test and an English paper due this week, a History midterm next week, a game tomorrow night, and 3 club meetings. Oh yes, and you need to sleep. Your workload has become overwhelming and you’re shutting down fast. 

There is so much to do, you don’t even know where to start. It seems like you will never get everything done in time, let alone at all.

Ever been in that situation? It’s common for students when the workload gets crazy and reality comes crashing in – you can’t do it all. At least not all the time.

But there are ways to get past the overwhelm and get working again. Let’s jump in!

Overwhelm Paralysis? How to Overcome It


Write it Down

Create a list of everything you have to do. And I mean everything – projects, homework, chores, extra-curricular activities. It doesn’t have to be in a pretty list – just dump all those to-dos out on paper. If you know due dates, write those next to the to-do item.


Not everything on your list may need to get done today. Or some might be more important than others. It’s time to decide what you need to start on right away and which ones can wait for a day or week. There are several ways to prioritize – this is my favorite method.

Break Them Down

Often big projects can be intimidating. Instead think about, “What do I need to start this?” That is a much smaller step. Then break the project down into many smaller steps and schedule those steps in your planner.

Get Started

Now that you have priorities on your list and broke them down into smaller steps, it’s time to get started. Sometimes, this can still be hard.

For my favorite technique, open the clock app on your phone and set a timer for 10 minutes. Then start working on your paper/ project/ homework/ whatever for 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, you can stop. Or you can keep working. 9 times out of10, I will keep working past the 10-minute mark and get major progress made.

Ask for help

Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash

There are so many people willing to help you! Try your parents, teachers, and friends for assistance with any one of these steps. You might be surprised just how helpful they can be!

Parent’s Corner

Hi Mom & Dad! You want to help your teen so much, but can’t do the work for him or her. (Please, don’t do the work!) But you can help them in other ways. 

Help them write the list of everything they have due. Maybe they dictate and you write. Walk them through the prioritizing process or give an example in your life. For questions you can ask your kiddos, check out advice from one of my favs, Leslie Josel.

Parents – don’t forget to model the behavior you want to see! On a regular basis, create a list of your to-dos. Prioritize your own commitments and show your kids how and why you do it. That is the best way to make sure they learn and use healthy coping habits in the future!

Hopefully, these tips will help you get started, even in the smallest of ways. Completing something is always better than doing nothing!

How do you get past the overwhelm? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: How to Manage a Hectic School Year, Use Time Blocking to Get Stuff Done, 6 Ways to Beat Procrastination for Good

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