9 Tips for Feeling Less Overwhelmed and Exhausted

It's that time of year. My clients are feeling it, my team are counting down the days and I am feeling rather exhausted. No matter what our personal or professional lives involve, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted happens to each and every one of us at many points in our lives. If you ask a group of people at any given moment if they feel overworked, you’ll see plenty of hands go up. I bet yours probably would, too! So how do we work on feeling less overwhelmed and more collected? The answer lies within yourself and how you manage your time, not in anything external.

Here are my nine tips for feeling less Overwhelmed and Exhausted:

Don’t let the everyday things weigh you down and it's okay to be imperfect!

Understand that not everything you do on a daily basis is essential to reaching your goals. Giving those things an unnecessary sense of importance will only add to how overwhelmed you feel. Remember it is okay not to do it all and be imperfect.

Cut out the unnecessary tasks that have become unquestioned habits

Doing what you’ve always done isn’t going to change anything. It’s time to start questioning why you’re doing certain things, and you’ll often find that you don’t need to be doing them - it’s simply become a force of habit.

Once you stop getting bogged down in the unnecessary, you’ll free up time and become more productive towards the things that count.

Always be ready to reorganise your priorities

Look at what you have to get done today, and what will get in the way of doing it. Choose the most necessary things to do, the things that cannot wait.

But you must also be willing to readjust your priorities (and your calendar) when an urgent task suddenly occurs. It’s great to get through your to-do list, but not if you’re neglecting the essential things as you do so.

Figure out the way you work best

Everyone has a different routine when they work. Maybe you do your best work later in the day, or even at night. Maybe you’re a morning person who works best when you start the day with some yoga and reflection.

No matter how you prefer to work, you must also understand if it’s actually benefitting you. If you’re not doing great work, it’s time to start experimenting with different work rhythms to see which is most effective for you.

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Less important tasks can wait - do the essentials before any others

This doesn’t just mean for the day; you need to look at what you must prioritise for the week, the month, the future.  Ascertain which tasks are most important, so that you’re working on things that provide you with the most value.

Make sure you ‘switch off’ from time to time

I bet you’re thinking, “Wait, what?? Surely she’s not serious?” Well, I am! Our brains (and bodies) need to go on autopilot sometimes.

Some interesting research has shown that we often come up with smart solutions to our problems by reviewing them, and then letting ourselves experience a period of ‘unconscious thought’.

This essentially means letting yourself ‘zone out’; doing things that don’t require much thought, like wiping down the kitchen or folding washing. When you’re not concentrating on trying to find an answer, you’re much more likely to find it!

Establish your limits

Today’s modern technology means we’re all available 24/7 - or at least we feel like we should be. The truth is, just because we all have those little devices in our pockets that allow us to communicate whenever we want, doesn’t mean we can’t put boundaries in place. We’re allowed to be ‘unavailable’ and make time for things other than work.

Decide when you’re going to stop answering calls and emails, when you’re not going to do anything work-related, and tell people those time limits. When you manage their expectations, people usually won’t mind not receiving a response right away. In fact, they’ll likely respect you for it.

Protect yourself from burning out; set healthy boundaries and stop those overwhelmed and overworked feelings in their tracks.

Really think before saying “yes” or “no”

Saying “yes” to everyone isn’t the way to get ahead and reach your goals. All you’re doing is overworking yourself and lessening the quality of your work (and your life).

Say “no” when you need to, and you can set conditions if necessary. That goes for saying “yes” as well.

Reflect on the impact that accepting the request will have on you and your goals, then decide on your answer from there.

I go further into depth on this in my blog 7 Courageous Conversations You Need to Have, if you’d like to read more.

Minimise the chance of being disturbed

When you really need to get something done, distractions are one of the biggest things standing in your way. A great tip that I often use is putting aside time where my notifications go on silent, so that no texts, emails or calls can interrupt my work. I’m a lot more productive when I’m not stopping and starting, and that’s true for just about anyone!

These 9 Tips for Feeling Less Overwhelmed and Exhausted are easy to put into practice, and are great ways to cope with the exhaustion and overwhelm that we all feel at times. Never feel guilty for feeling overworked or fatigued, just remember that you can do something about it!

Feel free to share any other tips like the ones above (Overwhelmed and Exhausted). I love hearing from you!


LeadershipHQ are also excited to be working with Veriskills where our Leadership Essentials Program where you are awarded for Collaboration outcomes. The Leadership Essentials Program is either a self-paced (not Veriskills) or a group and one on one leadership program which takes 6-9 months and gives participants the human capabilities, tools, skills and resources to be the best person and leader they can be. The Human Capability outcomes you will be awarded on completion of our Leadership Essentials program are as follows:

  • Initiative and Drive (Level 3)
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  • Collaboration (Level 3)
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Leadership isn’t easy and sometimes we need help. I am always here.

Get in touch today to learn more about building leadership skills with LeadershipHQ remote learning and set yourself up for success!

About Sonia

Sonia McDonald is the CEO of LeadershipHQ, McDonald Inc and Outstanding Leadership Awards. She believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics for 2020/2021

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for our Future Generations
  4. First Comes Courage
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Courage is Impact
  7. Courage is Kindness
  8. Courage is Resilience
  9. Courage is Purpose

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616



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Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.

Sonia x

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for these great tips/reminders, Sonia! I sometimes find breaking up my to-do lists into priority levels helps too (‘have to do’, ‘great if I CAN do’, etc). ????

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