5 Steps to Take When You Feel Overwhelmed

April 2, 2018
Posted in Student Tips
April 2, 2018 ACS

When you arrive back at school after spring break, you might notice that the pace of school seems to pick up a bit. Whether real (the school year is coming to a close, after all) or imagined, the pressure is the same: How will you get everything done by the end of the year?

First, remember that the pressure we put on ourselves is often greater than the burden actually placed on us. Take a step back and evaluate what you really need to get done in the next two months. Then, follow these five steps to get yourself organized and feeling in control.

Make a to-do list. Actually, make a whole bunch of lists. What do you need to finish for English class? What about Biology? What about your role as secretary of the debate club?

Go back and add notes. Put a star or number by the highest-priority items. Do you really need an A plus on your final English paper? Put several stars beside it. Is that art project less important, because it won’t take long? Put only one star beside it, and so on. Try to prioritize each item by importance and due date.

Break down your calendar. Now, add items to your calendar, according to priority. If a project will only require an hour of your time, and it isn’t due for three weeks, it’s lower priority. That ten-page paper, for the class in which you desperately need a good grade, can be started right away. See what we’re doing here?

Plan the rest of today. Hopefully you’re already feeling more organized. Now turn your attention to today. What do you need to get done? How much time do you have? Plot out the rest of the day, including breaks, and make the most of it. Having just one successful day under your belt will give you encouragement and motivation to get through the rest of the week.

Get ready. What can you do in the next five to ten minutes, that will help you feel energized and focused to tackle the tasks ahead of you? Go for a brisk walk or run, grab a cup of coffee, clean your desk, or do something else that always makes you feel motivated.

Now that you have a plan of action, stick to it! When you feel overwhelmed, look at your schedule. There’s no need to worry about tasks that you’ve planned for next Thursday, so let it go! Live in the moment, do what needs to be done now, and trust that your system will carry you through the rest of the semester.


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