melissa ambrosini, productivity

How To Combat Overwhelm And Supercharge Your Productivity







(Verb) To cover or bury beneath a mass of something, as floodwaters, debris, or an avalanche; submerge.

When I am overwhelmed and stressed, that’s exactly how I feel. Not to mention suffocated, crushed, heavy, tight, restricted and like I am treading water. But I have realised something… overwhelm and stress only occur when you are caught up in your head, or you have too much information and too many ideas running round your mind.

Now, ideas and information are great, and we definitely want to explore and dance with them. But overwhelm and stress? Not so much. We all know by now that stress wreaks havoc on your body, mind and spirit. It releases cortisol in your body, mucks up your hormones, messes with your digestion, and pretty much sends everything into chaos. So we definitely want to minimise its presence in our lives as much as possible.

But when you’re a lionhearted goddess with giant dreams, you ALSO want to get a lot done. Heck, you’ve got goals and plans and a vision board to bring to life, right? So how on earth can you still get s#^t done, without becoming a slave to your stress hormones?!

Today, I want to show you how. I’m revealing all my secrets, so that you can *finally* combat overwhelm and supercharge your productivity while experiencing epic happiness. It’s win-win, sista — for you, your dreams, AND your adrenals!

Here’s how I do it…

Brain Dump, Baby!

If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, the best thing you can do is a brain dump. Pull out a pen and paper or (if you’re a digital gal like me) open a blank document on your computer and literally dump down everything that’s on your mind.

Then — uncensored — I want you to write down anything that you can think of that’s on your mind or stressing you out. Things like…

  • Call and book in the cleaner
  • Email contract to designer
  • Book in 6am yoga class for Wednesday morning
  • Pick up avocados and cucumbers
  • Pay electricity bill
  • Do final edits for my ebook to send off to editor
  • Tell Monica to clean out google drive
  • Tell husband he is amazing
  • Pick up Matt’s soccer boots
  • Send Katie a birthday text today

I mean, the list is endless, right?! But the point is having all this running around your head is taking up space, sista! Space that could be used for creativity, time with loved ones, meditation or just to be and enjoy the present moment. But instead, we leave all that swirling around our minds like mumbo jumbo, making us feel like a crazy person. So brain dump it like nobody’s business and get it out of your head and onto paper. You will feel a million times better once you have done this first step.

(For my brain dump, I use an amazing task management app called Things. I love it! Evernote is also a goodie.)

Sort It, Sista!

Once you have done your brain dump, it’s time to sort it out and prioritise. This is where you divide your list into 3 categories: ‘URGENT’, ‘IMPORTANT’ and ‘CAN WAIT’.

If you’re using pen and paper, grab 3 different coloured highlighters for this process. And if you’re on your computer or phone, you can create folders or categories and simply rearrange the tasks ‘til they’re in the right spot.

Then, once things are categorised, it’s time to put them in order. If you’re doing it by hand, you can put a number next to each item in order of importance. For my digital peeps, move them around so the most important task under each category is at the top and the least important is at the bottom.

Date It

Now go through and write down next to each item when you are going to do it. Usually the things under the URGENT category may have to be done that day, but sometimes the items under IMPORTANT and CAN WAIT could be moved to another day. If so, put the date you are going to do it next to the task. This is where Things comes in handy and why it’s so freaking awesome! For example, I have all my URGENT tasks sitting in my inbox in Things, tagged for completion today. And this morning, I moved anything that doesn’t need to be done today to other dates. That way, it’s out of my head and I can forget about it and know that it will pop back up when it needs to be done. This alleviates my brain and creates space in my mind for creativity, presence and time with loved ones.

Just Do It

I always start my day with my top 3 URGENT tasks. Usually they are the chunkiest items, things like…

  • Write this week’s blog post
  • Finish book proposal
  • Create content for the Mastering Your Mean Girl 10 Week Activation Program
  • Map out talk for speaking gig
  • Write article for X publication

And let it be said that these URGENT items are usually the things I am most resistant to do. But I have realised that procrastinating, starting at my computer and hoping the article or book will write itself, or convincing myself that the bathroom cupboard needs a clean out right this second will NOT get my work done for me. I have to stare my Mean Girl in the face and say, ‘I see you, I hear you, but I am not willing to let you win’. That, my friend, is mastering your Mean Girl. And then I get on with it.

I always get asked how I get so much done, and this is my trick: I am super organised and I follow this system. Give it a go and let me know how you like it. And if you have any other tips to combat overwhelm and supercharge your productivity, please share them with our epic tribe in the comments below. And remember, your comment might be the one thing someone needs to read in order to spark massive internal shifts in their life. So open that big beautiful heart of yours and share from there.

I am beyond grateful and super proud of you for showing up every single day. I love supporting, guiding and helping you. So please keep commenting and sharing from your heart. I read every single comment that comes in, and I can’t wait to read yours.

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  1. Thank you so much, Melissa! Your system feels simple enough, elegant, and just right – will definitely try it out. I’m already super organized but been feeling quite overwhelmed recently, so hoping this will help me get my sanity back.

  2. Kylie Naylor says:

    I received your article from my school counsellor and found it to be very helpful in terms of what I am currently dealing with in my life, especially related to work issues. Thank you 🙂

  3. Alexia says:

    I’ve done something like this before. But the way you do it feels so much more organised! I’m going to do this right now 🙂 I haven’t heard about Things, but I use ASANA. And I love it. I think it’s pretty much similar with Things.

  4. Kate Bowern says:

    LOVE these ideas so much. I am a pen and paper girl so love the highlighter idea. These tips are really going to help me, thank you so much 🙂 x

  5. I recently bought your book and can’t wait to read it! This is a fantastic post too, I absolutely love Evernot. I use it everyday. Dropbox is another favorite.

  6. Frederike says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I started this week feeling really overwhelmed by all the work I had to do for my studies and job. I had actually not slept for a few days because of all the worries. I read this post and decided to give it a go, immediately. It is friday now. I have done more work than I had even hoped to do, did not work in the evenings, could go on a run thursday morning in between tasks and sat in the train home smiling everyday. This weekend I will be completely free! Have been sleeping like a baby too the past few days. Feel reborn and so confident. My boss told me yesterday he was very pleased with my work! I also notice I am so much nicer to my friends and family, and actually enjoy my work. Thank you so so much for sharing it! Am telling all my loved ones about your method. So simple, so effective. Wishing you and everyone else a great and healing weekend.

    Love, Frederike

  7. oh this is super helpful 🙂 I also fee that the most important things are the one I procrastinate the most and find excuses or let myself being blocked because of thinking I / it needs to be perfect – thank you Melissa! 🙂

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Hi Gorgeous, I'm Melissa.

Multiple bestselling author, #1 podcast host and TEDx speaker.



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