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How to stress less and accomplish your goals when you feel overwhelmed

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The holidays are an especially busy time of year. Here are seven steps to help you reduce stress and still accomplish your goals when you feel overwhelmed during the holidays or any other really busy time from Master Life Coach Jill Farmer, a former Emmy Award-winning TV reporter and anchor, and author of There's Not Enough Time and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.

  1. Brain dump. Write a list with everything that you think you need to get done in the next week (or before the end of the year, or until Christmas, or up to whatever date is causing you angst).
  2. Take 3 deep breaths. Then, read the list again and cross off anything that doesn't connect to your values, add meaning to life for you (or to the lives of those you love) or look like fun.
  3. Prioritize the 5 most important things on that list. Remember: if you are stressed, this doesn't work. You gotta be calm for the prioritization part of your brain to work correctly.
  4. Schedule. Plug everything you can into specific slots in the available time on your calendar. That makes it more likely to get done, and gives you a clearer picture of your time.
  5. Cluster. With the remaining items on your list, can you cluster the smaller things into a 2-minute task list? Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and move through your 2-minute task in one sitting (without straying from the list. Stay focused).
  6. Enlist help. Anything still left on your list? If so, spread the love and see if you can get some help. Is there someone else in your family who can share the load? Can you hire it done? Hate to wrap presents? Some people love it. See if someone in your life will come help you out (out of good will, or for a bottle of wine or nice dinner in the new year.) Know any college students? They're always looking for some extra cash this time of year. Hire one to help out.
  7. Ask why. Finally, connect to your why? WHY is this time of year important to you? If the answer to that question feels good. Let that help fuel you.
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