Have you ever been so completely overwhelmed with the things you need to get done, that you don't even know where to start? Maybe you have tried to make a to-do list in order to attempt to get organized, but some of those tasks just never seem to get done.

“You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Try breaking some of the big tasks down into smaller steps. Maybe you are overwhelmed with your homework and school activities. Rather than shutting down, break your tasks up to make them more manageable. See the examples below:

Multiple school assignments:

  • Make a list of your assignments.
  • Put due dates on a calendar.
  • Prioritize by due date, or get the easiest assignments out of the way first.
  • Schedule time to get the work done, and stick to the schedule.
  • Work on multiple assignments in one sitting by only doing part of each.
  • Check tasks off the list.

Break assignments into smaller portions:

  • Do a portion of assigned questions each night rather than all at once.
  • Do one portion of a research paper each night: research the topic, develop an outline, and write one section at a time.
  • List each portion of assignment separately so you can mark them off as you go (i.e. Algebra problems 1-10, Algebra problems 11-18).

Get the idea? This same principle can work with your life goals, and even with your relationships. Maybe you are frustrated with your relationship with a parent. "Fixing your relationship" is a pretty lofty goal and would be hard to know where to start, so think about what some steps might be to work toward that goal. You might come up with a list like the one below:

Get Along with Parents:

  • Be home on time.
  • Check in and let your parents, let them know where you are.
  • Say please & thanks.
  • Pick up after yourself.
  • Try to use a pleasant tone of voice.
  • Don't argue or talk back.
  • Get up for school in the morning on your own.
  • Give a compliment.
  • Do a chore without being asked.

Focusing on doing the little things can help you to accomplish bigger tasks and goals in your life. Get out a notebook or use a notes app on your phone and try this approach next time you are overwhelmed with a long list of things you need to do!