Imagine being able to accomplish more of the things that matter with more ease and a lot less stress.

Sound impossible? It’s possible alright, and with the right approach, it’s easier and more joyful than you probably think.

It’s cliche to say we’re over-scheduled, overworked, and overwhelmed, but in a culture that glorifies busy the way ours does, it’s truth.

So Many Tasks Spinning in My Brain

Even after wandering through the produce aisle four times while talking to myself  – aloud – in a vain attempt to find the grocery list from the jumble in my mind, I forgot that I knew how to accomplish more, more easily.

Even when my calendar was clear and task list was all stuff I was excited to do, I still struggled to get started on my to-do’s, let alone finish. That’s when I knew it was time to for a change.

Lack of accomplishment isn’t always about too many tasks and too little time.

When you get the mess out of your head onto the page, when you categorize, prioritize, and minimize your tasks – and celebrate along the way – you’ll start to accomplish more, with more ease and less stress.

Data Dump

Start by setting a timer for 10 minutes and scribbling down every single task you can think of.

No editing. No overthinking. No stressing.

Just dump all that jumbled data from your brain to the page, trusting the research that it helps your brain to write to-do lists by hand even if you don’t complete every task.


Batch the tasks by category, a commonsense approach is supported by research

I’m test-driving these categories, ones I found in a free sample from a planner: work, self, others, and home. I’ll probably stick with the planner I’ve used for years, and adding the work/self/others/home categories. Try these or come up with your own, just get all those tasks into groups that make sense.


As an undergrad, the semesters when my course and extra-curricular loads were heaviest were also when I got the best grades and had the most fun. My hunch: being busy taught me to prioritize.

Start your task prioritization by figuring out which are the most pressing and which you can tackle later. If they’re small enough to feel easily doable at this point, assign them a date and put them in your calendar.


When a task feels even the tiniest bit not-doable, minimize. Cut it in half until you end up with a task so small and simple that the idea of putting it on your calendar feels great, using a tactic Martha Beck calls “turtle steps.”

You’ve categorized, prioritized, and minimized. Now take a turtle step, celebrate, repeat.

Our culture of busy isn’t likely to slow down any time soon, and too many tasks or too little time isn’t always the problem when your accomplishments feel stressful and incomplete.

Data Dump, Categorize/Prioritize/Minimize, and then Turtle Step/Celebrate/Repeat your way to accomplishing more with less stress and a whole lot more ease and joy.


I help professionals who want to make a difference in the world get more accomplished with more joy and less stress. Schedule a complimentary assessment to learn more about how we could work together.

Photo pixabay. Used with permission
Spread the love