13 Effective Lists to Make When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Being overwhelmed is one of the worst feelings, but something that we all experience at some point continuously throughout our lives. Whether it’s you being overwhelmed about school, your job, blogging, money, family, friendships, relationships, we’ve all experienced an overwhelming feeling in at least one of these categories, and maybe all of them! That’s okay, that’s life and it’s never going to be perfect.

When you’re overwhelmed you most likely feel a sense of disorganization. You have so many things to do and so many ideas in your head, but you don’t know where to start. You lose clarity of what you need to do and how to get it done. You have to get your clarity back, put those ideas somewhere so you don’t forget and you can manage how to get it all done.

Today I’m sharing 13 effective lists to make for when “you just literally can’t”.

What? Lists? *people still write..with their hands? onto paper?* YES, smart and organized people still write things down and you should, too.  Lists help you stay organized, hold yourself accountable, and most importantly, REMEMBER.

Blogging Ideas

Writing down my blogging ideas has been one of the greatest steps I’ve taken to get more organized and motivated with blogging. I used to get all these great ideas in my head, but I never put them anywhere, so I would forget, or I would get overwhelmed about trying to remember. Now I take notes in a notebook when I get an idea and then I build off it later. Also, if I have any collaborations going on I keep track of what I need to do for the brand – by when, and include it in my list.

Your Daily “To-do”

I write down what I have going on every single day along with the times. Even though I know I teach every Tuesday Thursday at 2PM, I still write it down. I include everything from what blog I need to write that day, my specific workout, my cleaning schedule, laundry schedule, eating schedule. Sometimes I even pencil in when I have time to go get coffee. It might sound so silly, but when you plan out your weeks, you’ll find yourself feeling so much more organized and less overwhelmed. For example, Nate works long hours and I go to school and teach 2 hours away. We are both, so. busy. I do most of the cleaning and cooking, so I plan out what things I need to accomplish everyday, so by the end of the week everything is done and I didn’t feel overwhelmed to get it all done. Mondays I do all the laundry and dishes. Wednesdays I clean the bathroom and kitchen, and on Fridays, I sweep and mop. I do other things too, but that’s just an example of how I spread all the cleaning out.

Grocery Lists

This is something hopefully you do anyways, but if you’re not, you need to! We order our groceries from Peapod since we live in Downtown Chicago and the grocery stores here are expensive. I have a grocery list written down with all of the basics we eat every single week. Then I add special items to it like if I’m doing laundry and we are getting low on detergent I write it down right away. Nate told me the other night he wants me to make chicken and noodles next week so I wrote down everything I need for that so I won’t forget. There is nothing worse than forgetting to get something at the store and having to go all the way back! It also helps so that you don’t buy useless items that the store that you won’t eat. Buy only what you need and know you will eat. Never go into the grocery store blindly! or hungry.

Homework “to-do” List

This is something I just started doing and it works wonders! Being in graduate school I don’t really have a lot of weekly assignments other than reading for class. I get a lot of big projects/papers that aren’t due until the end of the semester. I created a list, or more like a timeline, of what days I have extra time during the week to work on my weekly readings and write sections of my papers. This means no end of the semester cramming, and while everyone else is overwhelmed trying to finish at the last minute, you’re finishing strong because you made a list and aren’t sweating a bit!

Work “to-do”

Probably not the most fun to-do list, but it will help you feel more motivated to do your job and you won’t get in trouble with the boss because you didn’t forget to order hot dog buns for the annual hot dog eating competition, true story. I worked in an event planning internship over the summer for a festival in my hometown. It was a demanding, overwhelming at times, but rewarding job. I really learned some good time management skills along the way. I would often have several projects going on at one time, but I never forgot a piece and I never didn’t have time to get something done. I created priority lists. I would create a list of everything my boss needed me to get done, then I would transfer it to a priority list. Just an example, if an important e-mail needed to be sent or a phone call needed to be made, I put it on the high priority list. Updating websites and posting to social media, medium priority lists. Researching ideas went on the low priority list. Most of the time I had until the end of the week to get my list done, which when you’re in the event biz, isn’t a lot of time, but I was able to prioritize my list and write everything down to where I got my projects done on time and it was quality work. Plus, who doesn’t love crossing something off their list?!

Daily Workouts

I mentioned above that I write my workouts down everyday. I have a list for everyday of the week that I workout, what type of workout I’m doing, and the steps included. It hold me accountable to make sure that I am staying on track and I don’t forget a step in my workout. I also write down what time I need to go workout. I try to workout in the mornings because I think it’s a great way to start the day and it helps wake me up.

Shopping List

This might sound a little unconventional but I have a shopping list. This is a list of all the clothing and shoes I want/need to purchase. You should probably separate your wants from your needs….but in my book everything is a need. Yikes. I know. Being on a serious budget, but still trying to stay on trend and have cute things to talk about on my blog requires shopping. I get major envy of all the bloggers who have full-time jobs and can shop more than I can. Just a few more months until that can be me! Right now I am working on getting my Spring wardrobe ready, which means starting now. I have to purchase items a little at a time because that’s just the kind of budget i’m on right now! Currently on my list I have a pair of tennis shoes, a couple pairs of shoes I would like for the warmer months, various tops, jeans, etc. Writing down the specific items I want/need helps me not make nonesense purchases and  stay on budget. By the time Spring gets here I will have a lot of what I want, and I won’t feel deprived or behind.

Words of Wisdom

I love writing down my favorite quotes and sayings. I refer back to them when I’m feeling overwhelmed or just in a bad mood. I always get so worried about whether or not I’m doing the right thing. I put a lot of stress on myself to never make mistakes and sometimes when I screw up I get down on myself and lose motivation. However, having a list of my favorite pick me up quotes helps me through those overwhelming times and I feel so much better!

Bills to Pay (Due dates and amounts)

This is so important because there is nothing worse than being late or forgetting to pay a bill. Luckily I have never forgotten or been late or pay something, because being a student still, I only have a few bills that I have to make sure are getting paid every month. I have a list that I look at every month with my bills and their due dates. I always pay my bills as soon as I get paid so that I never run into not having enough money for other things. Nathan and I also have a really great system of a monthly budget. After the bills are paid we allow ourselves a certain amount for things like groceries, date nights, shopping, etc. so that we have enough money to pay our bills and also have some leftovers to enjoy! Everything else? Straight to savings.

Home Renovations

This may not apply to everyone, but if you just moved, are redecorating, or need to make some home renovations, you should have a list for this! We just moved into an apartment so I currently have a list going of what we need to get for our new place. This includes furniture, kitchen appliances, bedding, decor, etc! Right now I am taking it one room at a time. It’s hard for me to bounce from room to room and decorate, so I think it’s easier to make a list per room and don’t move to the next room until one is done. Right now I am tackling the living room and while it’s almost finished, I’m not starting on the bedroom until the living room is done. If you’re in the process of renovating, make a list of all your renovations that need to be done, prioritize them, and set a budget!


This is something I need to be better at. We can often forget to make our appointments, but it’s so important to regularly see your dentist, eye doctor, family doctor, whoever you go to! I am working on a list of all the appointments I need to make and when I can go. I tend to wait until I run out of contacts to go see my eye doctor and I end up having to wear my glasses until I can get in. I am getting better though about calling and setting my appointments when it’s getting close. Having a list helps remind me!

Gift Ideas

There’s always going to be someone you need to buy a gift for. From family member birthdays, holidays, graduations, engagements, weddings, baby showers, there’s always someone you need to be thinking of. Most likely, I just reminded you of someone you need to get a gift for. Make a list! I try to add to my planner or calendar every time there is a birthday coming up, wedding, or something I need to get for someone so that I can plan ahead and put thought into what I’m going to get them. Also, you don’t want to be that person who go to buy a baby shower gift the day of and then see that everything on the registry has already been purchased! Panic mode.

Bucket List

I prefer to save the best for last. Make a bucket list! Anything you would love to do, write it down. Whether it’s somewhere you want to travel, your dream collaboration, or something as simple as a date night idea, put it on your bucket list! You’ll be more likely to work towards achieving it if you do. One of my bucket list items right now is to take my blog to New York Fashion Week. Trying to make this dream come true this year because I’m impatient!

Do you make lists? If so, what kind?

Chat soon babes, I have to go write another list!

xo | Rachel


  1. Tina
    January 20, 2017 / 5:52 am

    So many great ideas
    Thank you for sharing

  2. January 20, 2017 / 5:25 pm

    I am such a list-maker that I am LOVING this post! All of your insights are so helpful to stay organized and motivated. I will definitely be coming back to this post 🙂 Thanks so much!

  3. January 20, 2017 / 5:33 pm

    This is awesome girl. I’m testing out the “happy list” just a little list of things that make me smile. Although I should probably start with home renovation and bills to pay. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    Andi of http://www.ouiwegirl.com

  4. January 20, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    This is such a great post! I love making lists!

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