Simple 3- Step Planning Process

This process is perfect for days when you're stressed out about everything that you need to accomplish. My signature system is one that I have shared with my coaching clients and I’m sharing it with you today so that you too can balance, grow, and succeed!

Simple 3- Step Planning Process:

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and overworked

Feeling overwhelmed is no fun!  And, planning when you’re overworked is daunting.  In today’s post, I am sharing my simple three step planning process that I use when I start to feel overwhelmed. This process is perfect for days when you’re stressed out about everything that you need to accomplish. My signature system is one that I have shared with my coaching clients and I’m sharing it with you today so that you too can balance, grow, and succeed!

The importance of planning!

Here is an excerpt from my very FIRST Career Mom Community blog post.

“Career Moms are ambitious women who are dedicated to their roles as mothers and also seek meaningful and successful careers.  Career moms are go-getters who wear many hats.  We are women who rely on strategy, proper planning and grace.”

June 24, 2019

As you can imagine, planning is critical to working mothers. But what about the days when you’re feeling overwhelmed and you just don’t have the time or patience to sit down and plan?  Here’s a system that will help!

These three steps can be applied to anything you are planning. Whether it’s career planning, budget planning, life planning, or travel planning, you can leverage this planning process.  Leverage these 3 steps as a simple and effective way to get back on track. Think of this process as a jump start so that you don’t become anxious about your situation. Let’s dive in…

When you are feeling overwhelmed, but have a ton of things to get done here’s my signature process:

1- Brain Dump

2 – Outsource and/or eliminate

3 – Plan

Step number one is to write down everything you need to accomplish. It could be for the day, for the week, or the month. A brain dump is very similar to an unstructured to do list.  It’s helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed because it also serves as an outlet for your thoughts.  Here’s an example:

Here’s an example:

If you are planning for a trip and your mind keeps swirling with everything you need to get done, grab some pen and paper (or your smart device) and start writing things out.  That’s step one and it’s really that simple.  The goal is to capture any and all of your activities.   

Sample brain dump worksheet. Let’s chat about your planning process to move you for overwhelmed to overjoyed!

Step number two is to outsource and/or eliminate.  A critical part of prioritizing is making decisions about what to keep on your plate and what to keep in scope for each season. Outsourcing will vary from family to family and person to person.  Below are some creative ways you can outsource some day to day responsibilities.

  • Order groceries online
  • Hire home services such as cleaning 
  • Ask family and friends to help with various tasks
  • Hire support for your business
  • Delegate at work

Let’s talk about the process of elimination.  When you are overwhelmed this step is super important. Deciding what not to do is just as important as deciding what to do! The truth is, this part of the process is a little more delicate to maneuver because no one wants to drop the ball.  Consider this approach. As you’re eliminating tasks you can either move them to a later time period or remove them from your list of priorities all together. Moving task to a later time period ensures they get done while freeing up your time in the current moment.

Step number three is to plan.  As you can guess, this is my favorite part of the process! This step involves assigning your activities a place on either your to-do list or on your calendar. You can use paper planner, Google Calendar, or digital tracking. Personally, I like Google calendars because you can link it to your alarms and get reminders.

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The goal of this three step planning process is not to add additional stress to your already stressful situation, so keep it simple.  I encourage you to timebox this entire activity to no more than 30-minutes. Don’t pressure yourself with a long and drawn out process.  Follow this framework and move on to something else.


Example – Let’s practice

As you can see, this framework is effective for a variety of scenarios. Perhaps you are planning your career.  For some, career conversations can be stressful.   Let’s walk through the steps of this process and start with step one.  Write down your career aspirations, your skills, any skills gaps, and opportunities of interest. This is your brain dump.

From there, move onto step 2, determine what is in scope considering where you are currently and start to eliminate items.  You can’t exactly outsource because career growth is personal.  However, don’t skip this step.  It will provide an opportunity for you to refine your career growth strategy and make conversations with your leadership easier. 

The third and final step is to plan and organize.  Outline the key activities that you are going to schedule, implement, and create a roadmap.

Why 3 Steps?

Narrowing down your activities to three steps will keep your process sequential and minimal, therefore eliminating additional stress. 

Your Success Awaits…

What action steps do you follow when you are overwhelmed but still need to plan and execute? Leave me a comment and let me know!


Need help developing your effective planning systems to move from overwhelmed to overjoyed? Let’s chat. Click here to learn more about services.

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