How to Make Peace with Overwhelm, Doubt & Get Shit Done

Hillary Rubin - get things doneWe all lead busy lives, wanting our visions to become reality. Then we take the first step toward our goals and…

OVERWHELM shows up.

It’s painful to run out of dream-building time because our personal and professional lives are too busy.

That’s usually when our inner control freaks awaken feeling disturbed, and our energy drains and spikes.

We often forget we control our thoughts, actions and responses to what happens around and inside of us, and we gasp as if our next breath is our last, grasping for any and everything to feel we’re getting something done.

Have you ever completed a task that wasn’t on your to-do list, only to write it down so you could cross off one responsibility?

Me too.

Though momentary relief sets in, you still beat yourself up about everything you haven’t finished. Your list is the proverbial mountain: it’s almost impossible to climb.

That’s when DOUBT enters.

I witness this cycle all the time, especially now. Being a mother and taking care of my son means I work less hours but have the same work goals and responsibilities. I’ve had to do a beautifully-challenging, constantly shifting life and business redesign which has transformed me in ways I thought impossible as a woman, mom and wife, coach and business owner.

Every day, I flow in an outline, get a few important things done and remind myself I am OK with having to take more time for what’s incomplete. I’ve taken things off my plate and use a filter question to stay focused, able to say no to anything that takes up too much energy.

This is a decision-making, soul-shifting learning experience. It’s a growth period for me to become the next version of myself.

If I don’t get to work out because I slept an extra, necessary hour, I’m learning. If it takes me two days to write a blog, I can plan better in the future. Maybe it takes a month to file certain papers, and that’s okay. Determining priorities helps me be deliberate and get things done.

What I believe is the REAL cause of overwhelm and doubt.

Overwhelm happens when we are in our heads thinking of everything we didn’t – or need – to do. Our inner critic (or bratty teenager) is mean, often comparing us to others and their successes.

Maybe we are:

  • Unfocused, piling more and more on our to-do list to stay busy
  • Unspecific about what needs to get done when
  • Unclear about our boundaries, constantly overstepping healthy limits

Hey, we’re all human.

How to make peace with it all and get things done in five easy steps.

1. Find the cause of the overwhelm.

Be honest with yourself, asking questions to get to the core of your overwhelm.

Where are you putting your energy and how are you using your time? Are you staying busy for the sake of being busy? Are you looking at what everyone else is doing and adding more to your already long to-do lists? How would you feel if you completed the task? What if you didn’t?

Take time to ground yourself, get quiet and tune in to connect with your truth every day to see what the root cause is. Looking at what you haven’t done will spiral you out.

Give yourself permission to focus on what you are doing, and have done, that is working.

2. Validate yourself.

The secret? Validating yourself releases stuck energy.

You are doing a good job, even if you’re doing nothing, or maybe you’re doing a good job of being overwhelmed. At the end of your day, look at what you can validate yourself for doing.

Love and forgive the part of you in doubt. A positive spin on a negative emotion opens you up to notice an energy shift.

3. Get on the deliberate train – create boundaries.

When we are deliberate with our decisions and choices, it’s easier to get stuff done. Know your non-negotiables. Next time you’re sitting in front of your to-do list, ask yourself if saying yes brings you closer to X goal?

If the answer is no, then it’s time to create a boundary and refocus on your goals. If it’s yes, be sure you’ve thought out the choice by giving yourself 24 hours to make a final decision.

If, a day later, you still think taking on a new task brings you closer to your goal, then it’s perfectly fine to say yes.

4. Have an outline instead of a plan.

For me, this has been life-changing. A plan made me feel stuck and stagnant, but an outline left wiggle room and flexibility in my schedule.

Create an outline of what you want to get done in the next 3-6-9-12 months. See what it is you wish to create and accomplish, and when. Play with your outline and remember to ask yourself if a goal is for you or someone else.

I often question what I would feel good about skipping, so I can decide what I have outgrown (or can have a later due date).

From there, you can decide what needs to come first, what can be done later and what can be let go of.

5. Do one thing a day that brings you closer to your next goal.

Make it easy. If you could only do one thing that day, what would be most beneficial? This will take out the overwhelm and, if you complete your task, you can add in another.

Through this process, I have learned I prefer to have 2-3 things a day that need to get done first. If there’s time I get to the other things.

As a mama, I have less time and have to be focused. On Sunday, I create an outline for the week of what needs to get done, giving myself plenty of space and time for completion.

Where you decide to spend most of your time doing each day for you, your family, and your business is up to you. Remember where you put your attention is where your energy goes.

Last, repeat #2. At the end of the day validate what you’ve done. Even if it’s one thing or NOTHING let yourself know you did a good job. This energy opens you up to get stuff done and releases overwhelm and doubt.

When you get this in place you will find you have a lot more peace in your life.

Action time, Sweet Soul…

Together let’s put overwhelm and doubt in it’s place so we can get our shit done and take your power back and feel centered again.

Your challenge is to first use step one to find what’s at the core of your overwhelm, then tell me what it is in the comments below. Then tell me the next step you’re going take today to start getting your shit done. (Use your comment to hold you accountable.)

And if you’ve found ways to help you to handle those moments of overwhelm or doubt for yourself in order to get shit done then please share those too!

I can’t wait to see what you’re going to make happen.

Your Angel of Fire,


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