Stop Should-ing On Yourself

Getting wrapped up in the crazy is easy.

Often times, we let the chaos erupt without even realizing the takeover happened. And by the time we finally understand what occurred, burn-out settles in - that very familiar, heavy feeling in which we feel that we can't move on to the next "thing". We are under the impression that every task needs to be accomplished this second, that this assignment should be complete now and the other task should take priority, but I really should be brainstorming for this.

Stop should-ing on yourself. 

The should-ing is a result of a constant overwhelming feeling of overthinking. Prioritization and organization do not need to be exhausting words. (This is coming from a recovering should-er. And every day, I need to work to remind myself to stop.) 

Here are my three steps that helped me get rid of the "shoulds" and start living in the present. 

Set day, week, month goals.

Once you are assigned a project, take the time to draft out the goals and items necessary for completion. It may take some time to set up in the beginning, but it will be worth it as the days, weeks and months start to fly. Track the project backwards from the target deadline and then set goals for the day, week and month leading up to the deadline. Devote time to this process for each project. On your calendar, you will then see how things layer together and maximize the time during your day for one-off tasks, last minute meetings or a quick coffee date with friends. 

What's your completion list look like?

Celebrate the accomplishments of each day and recognize what you finished in order to make it to the next step in the project. It's a reverse to-do's your I'm-done list. This list also serves as a project score keeper. Keep yourself accountable. Be sure you can cross off your items for that day to keep everything running smoothly and on track for deadline.

Start your morning to-do list the night before.

Once you're done with the I'm-done list, use this to build the next day's schedule. Do you need to schedule a follow-up meeting or call based on something that was crossed off? Do you need to get that draft ready for proofing? Start the next day's to-do list right away while those tasks are still in your head.


What is simple changes in everyday routines, but it's important to look at the very big picture and begin to break it down into manageable, non-overwhelming chunks.

Throw out the shoulds and get going!


  Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Ann Ehnert has enjoyed working within the digital marketing industry for 9 years, specializing in search engine optimization and enhancing the user experience. When she’s not focusing on digital, she’s enjoying adventures with her adorable daughter and supportive husband. Connect with Ann as she documents her journey on or on twitter @annehnert.