How do you tackle your to-do list when you are overwhelmed and don't know where to start?
I'm probably going to echo a lot of what Danae and Jouet said but that's because it's good advice- and it works!
* Make a list. There are a couple of reasons why I like the list. One- Trying to remember everything is difficult, and if, at the end of the day, I've forgotten something, it weighs me down. Two- There is immense satisfaction in being able to cross things OFF the list. Actually seeing the list dwindle makes me feel productive.
* Prioritize the list. If you're in a relationship like mine, I have Master prioritize it if I'm not able to. All I do is say "I have a lot to do today and I'm not sure I'll have time to do it all. Would you point out to me which items are an absolute 'must-do'?" It never fails to surprise me how often I'd have done it differently. What I probably would have put at the top of his priority list, he'll drop to the bottom. This way, if all I can manage to accomplish are a couple of things, at least they are the things that mattered most to him. I'm then not left thinking that I ran my butt off all day and still failed to please him.
*Split the list into categories (ie. Daily, Long Term, Outdoors, etc.) Because we have such unpredictable weather here, the Outdoor list will sometimes take priority over the Daily list. Also, I try and start at least one item on the long term list every day.
Splitting the list up helps me from feeling overwhelmed. I get to cross things off my Daily list (and watch it dwindle) while still accomplishing something on the Long Term list without becoming overly involved in the lower-prioritzed Long Term projects.
* Set a timer. This is often how I start those Long Term projects. I'll set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes and work on that proeject. One project I have to do is to clean out and reorganize the laundry room. In 15 minutes, I can finish one shelf. When the timer goes off, I stop what I'm doing and return to the Daily list. This way, I'm not looking at the laundry room chore as a day or two long tedious project and I'm not overwhelmed at trying to figure out how I'm going to do that room, plus do the Daily list, plus run errands, etc. It'll still get done, and I'm enjoying it as I do it.
* Do the distasteful stuff first. I find if I do the chores that I hate first, I can then zip through the rest with a lighter attitude. If that icky chore is hanging over my head, I'll slug my way through the other stuff trying to put off getting to that chore that I hate. Or, I'll be tired enough from doing everything else that I'll talk myself out of doing it at all.
* Accept it. Accept that you will always have a to-do list. Attitude goes a long way in making the unpleasant turn pleasant.
* On that same note, take care of yourself so that you can be positive. And if you need a break, a day with no chores, a flop on the couch with a good movie, take it! Everyone needs their batteries recharged.
You could even put yourself on your own to-do list. High priority, of course! ;-)