How To Be Productive When You’re Overwhelmed and Freaking Out

I'll be the first to admit that sometimes life can get a bit ahead of me. Or, okay, maybe a lot ahead of me. Sometimes I freak out. Sometimes I shut down and pretend like I actually don't have anything to do! Yeah, don't do that. But instead of doing either of those things, here are some thing you can do to chill the heck out and get crap done!

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes life can get a bit ahead of me. Or, okay, maybe a lot ahead of me. Sometimes I freak out. Sometimes I shut down and pretend like I actually don’t have anything to do! Yeah, don’t do that. But instead of doing either of those things, here are some things you can do to chill the heck out and get stuff done!

Go to sleep!

As much as you feel like you need to get that crap load of stuff done right now (even if it’s due in the morning- umm… stressful!) you might need to consider just letting yourself get some sleep! Up until becoming a mom, I was never a morning person. But even in college I knew that I was waaay less distracted and way more motivated to get stuff done in the morning. I find that there are a lot more distractions at night. We’re way more prone to surf the web, watch TV, get that late night snack and disrupt the workflow. Also, as much as I would love to push through my need for sleep, I know that I think and make connections way easier when I’m rested. So, give yourself a break, and pick it up in the morning.

Wake up early

I am never more proud of myself for being a better worker(/wife/mommy) than I am if I can manage to get my butt out of bed in the morning and stuff done. I love checking the first few things off my list before noon! I also feel especially entitled to get out and treat myself to a coffee instead of a home brew. Like I said in my last point, I’m about 10x more productive and motivated in the mornings than I am at night, even when I was a night owl!

For you mamas out there…

I know this might go against everything in your being at 7 (or 6, or worse…) a.m. but waking up BEFORE the kids are up will completely change the feel of your morning! Being an introvert, one of the things I miss most about my pre-mommy days is quiet and focussed mornings. But nowadays I’ve been using my baby monitor as an alarm clock. Waking up to a toddler’s coos or cries is a heck of a lot different than waking up on your own, getting that first cup of coffee, (drinking it while it’s still warm…) and setting out to do what you gotta do.

Too stressed to sleep?

When I’m stressed, I feel the need to think about and plan out every detail so I know exactly what’s going on. And what sucks is, most of the time this happens at 1 a.m. So. Instead of lying in bed and pondering all the stuff you have to do the next day- write it down! When I do this, it is like I am literally taking the ideas from my head and placing them on paper, freeing my mind to chill the heck out and get some sleep! I use an app called Google Keep for all my list making and reminders. It is one of the best apps I have ever stumbled upon in my smartphone life. You can create checklists, location reminders, time reminders, picture reminders, everything you need to stay organized and keep yourself on track. Check it out here.

Set reminders throughout the day

One of the biggest problems with being stressed and having too much to do is feeling like we need to remember everything at once. Well, that’s kind of impossible and you’re probably setting yourself up to forget stuff and make mistakes. Just sayin’. Instead, try to think about your daily schedule and plan timed (or location) reminders for when you need to be reminded about a certain task.

Here’s an example of how I do this: I know that at work in the morning I’m going to need to send out an email, so I set a reminder for 15 minutes before I need to do that. I also know that when I get home I need to remember to call my mom. So I set a location reminder so that when I pull in my driveway my phone says, “Beeboop! Call your mom!” That was my impression of a ringtone…

Anyway… know your schedule and try to declutter your mind by only thinking about tasks when they need to be thought of. You’ll find yourself way more focussed and way less overwhelmed.

Change your context

So I know that “working from home” sounds super great, but honestly, I can’t get any work done from home before 7 pm when babe goes to bed. And even then my attention is split between work, my husband, my dirty house, the dog, and whole lot of other random crap. Getting out and going to a place like a library or coffee shop says to my mind, “Hey, you’re here to work. Let’s get to it.” In a setting other than my home I am way less needed (big one there) and way less prone to be distracted by personal life.

Instrumental music

One of the best things to get the creative juices flowing. OR if the thing you have to do is incredibly boring, spice it up a bit with some tunes. My favorite things to listen to while I work lately? Rodrigo y Gabriela. But that’s just me. I LOVE Spanish guitar. It wakes me up and get’s me focussed! Others find that classical helps them focus when writing or working on difficult tasks. Check out this superb article on what to listen to when you work.

What do you do to calm down and get stuff done? What music helps you focus?? Leave your suggestions in the comments and share with friends!

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    love all these ideas! I’m going to wake up early tomorrow. 🙂

    Amanda | Maple Alps

    Changing context is a huge one for me. Sometimes I’m most productive at Starbucks 😛

    ashley Lee

    Even though my toddlers sometimes wake before 7 am, I feel so much better when I wake and start my morning before they wake up! If I can get my coffee in peace.. It is going to be a good day! 🙂

    Amy Jones

    I think these are all great tips! they’re so simple but we always forget to do this when we’re stressed out or don’t think it will help and the truth is that when we follow this tips the final result of our work is so much better


    you always have such helpful stuff! so glad I subscribed to your blog! from one Woman to another!

    Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

    I love and agree with these tips. I am a blogger and stay at home mom too and had gotten into a good routine of waking up at 6 am to have 1.5 hours before little kids wake up. Yesterday and today6, I tried to push it to 530am. Problem is my little ones must sense I’m awake and,the sleep getting up earlier too. They draw, write or read until breakfast but still my time isn’t as uninterrupted as I’d hoped.


    Thanks for the Tips! I’ve read that music can help to improve productivity before I’ll need to test it. When I need some productivity tips and methods to test, I look for them here: . Check it out, I hope you;ll find the website useful as well.