The Stress of Thinking, Not Doing

Brad Bartlett
3 min readNov 16

What if your stress is due to your…stress?

We all experience stress in our lives. It can come from many sources — work, relationships, finances, health, and more.

But here’s an idea I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: Most of my stress is not the actual problems I face but from my thinking about those problems.

I’ve realized that most of my stress comes from overthinking about everything I need to do rather than from the tasks themselves.

In other words, my overwhelm comes from feeling overwhelmed, not from the tasks I need to do. I know, it seems obvious and somewhat ridiculous.

But it’s a slippery slope, right? The more time I spend thinking about my “To-Do” list, the more stressed out I become.

That’s why it’s important to try and break free of this cycle of overthinking.

Focus on One Task at a Time

When we have a lot going on in life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of responsibilities and tasks we have piled up.

Just thinking about everything that needs to be done can induce stress and anxiety. And as a freelancer — whose work involves juggling multiple projects simultaneously — it can be even more overwhelming.

A solution I’m working on is breaking my large tasks into smaller, manageable pieces and then focusing on just one at a time.

For example, rather than thinking about the 7 writing projects I have coming up over the next few weeks, I break each down into simple, daily tasks that I can knock out quickly. Then I prioritize.

Suddenly, I have a short list of doable tasks rather than large, overwhelming projects that feel impossible to get started on. And that changes everything.

Simplify Your Workload

Trying to juggle too many things at once is a surefire way to get stressed out. That’s why simplifying your workload by tackling one small piece at a time effectively reduces stress.

When you single-task and focus your attention, you can work more efficiently without feeling overloaded.

Brad Bartlett

Professional Freelance Copywriter. ( Musings on #freelancing, #productivity, #self-development, and more!