I have a confession. But don’t judge me….

Here it is…

I never complete my to-do list. 

Crazy, right?! But it’s true.

The good news is: I get the most important things done. And if it isn’t important, then I don’t do it.

But this isn’t about me…let’s turn the tables to YOU. And how you can crush the overwhelm that creeps up on you. Maybe not today. Maybe not often. But I have yet to meet the school music teacher that doesn’t every now-and-then hit the point where they aren’t sure they know how to move forward.

What I’ve learned over the years is that there are a few things you can do- and do today…like in the next 5 minutes- that will help you feel better instantly.

Here is the time-tested, proven strategy that works, no matter how stressed and overwhelmed you’re feeling:

  1. Pull out a pad of paper. You can use a big legal pad, a journal-size notebook, or even the back of an illegal copy of sheet music.
  2. Write down all of the things you need to do…everything. From your job to your home life to your workout to your meetings to your self-care. Write it all down, regardless of when it has to get done. There is no order and there is no wrong here. Need to drink a glass of wine? Add it to the list. Need to send out that parent email? Add it to the list.
  3. When you think you’ve written everything, turn the page to a blank sheet. Take a nice deep breath. That’s a long list and that’s wonderful!
  4. Turn back to the list of insanity and you’re going to pick the #1 most urgent thing, the #1 easiest thing, and the #1 funnest thing. [If you didn’t write down anything fun…shame on you. Pick something fun right now, even if it’s just flipping to cabinporn.com ]
  5. Decide that before you do anything else, you’re going to do these 3 things. Once you’ve done these three, pick another three. And another three. Put your feelings aside about each item and just do it. You’ll thank yourself.

Every time you think of something else that needs to get done, cross it off. If you look at the list and realize that something has gone so long without getting done because it isn’t a priority, cross it off and let it go.

My Secret Sauce for Success:

If something on the list feels really challenging- like that parent email or confronting another teacher, or writing out lesson plans for the next few weeks- I recommend doing something to make it fun. Here are some of the things I’ve done to give you some ideas:

• Get a bag of M & M’s to munch on while you do it

• Plan on a reward to give yourself after you get it done [I like a drive into the beautiful spots by my house or a visit to Victoria’s Secret. Depends on how challenging the task]

• Turn on some awesome music and dance like crazy before you sit down to do it. Keep awesome music playing while you complete the task.

• Change into something super comfortable if you can. Fuzzy socks, sweat pants, and baggy hoodies are my go-to to get the hard work done.

And finally:

• When you’ve finished a task…CROSS IT OFF. It just feels amazing.

What have you tried in the past that has worked for you? Have you tried any of these suggestions? Leave a comment below and share!