You tell a peer that you are overwhelmed with your job, life, everything. And what do they recommend? Make a “to-do” list! Brilliant! Problem solved. End of blog post! Nope.

Don’t get me wrong, lists are great; they keep us organized and on task, and help us keep things in perspective. We can make list, after list, after list. We can re-write, color code, sync it with our iPhone, categorize, and make it do cartwheels. But alas, we are still overwhelmed. We haven’t done anything. We haven’t taken action and completed a single thing on our list, so we are still stressed! The title industry is fast paced, so to make sure we close on time every time, we have to keep calm and power through each and every day.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and have 101 things spinning in your mind, don’t stop and make a list at that moment. Lists are better made when you are levelheaded and calm, when you can be constructive. Ask yourself these simple questions when you need to put the situation back into perspective:

  • What is under my control and what is not?
  • Where is my anxiety originating?

Now be constructive with your answers. People and outcomes are not in your control. Anxiety levels come down when we acknowledge that the anxiety is there. Now it’s time to take some action and start to calm our minds:

  • What is in your control that you can do right now to make an impact? Limit it to less than 30 minutes. Tackle that task right then and there.
  • Make sure the task is simple and straightforward. We don’t want to overcomplicate things already.
  • After you complete the first item, move on to the second.
  • Keep repeating until your reality is manageable.

Then tackle that to-do list. Make sure your list is concise and constructive. Don’t forget to add small wins in there in addition to the larger projects. It is when our mind becomes too caught up in the big picture that everything around us appears to be out of our grasp. Including goals, both large and small, in our everyday thinking, keeps us grounded, but also keeps us going and doing.

Now, let’s stop with all this talk and get out and DO!