Writing When You Feel Overwhelmed and Have No Time

Marc Sawyer
3 min readMay 11, 2021


It’s not often that I feel like I have a lot of time. But sometimes I have this no-time feeling. It’s that feeling you get when you have all this stuff swimming in your head. Things you know you need to do. List after list. One direction then another. Too many things. If you’re like me and trying to build a writing habit when you get to this place of overwhelm, how can you invest the time to write? How can you not?

All those to-do’s swimming and floating around in your head are overwhelming when you think about them. This is why you should not be thinking about them. you need a system for tracking what needs to be done.

Get that idea out of your head.

I have recently been going through a process of simplifying my life in order to make space for writing. Whether that is two hours (almost never) or twenty minutes it doesn’t matter. I’m prioritizing and investing time into what matters most.

What matters most to me right now is making sure that I stay on track. I have a lot of things on my plate and just because they are there does not mean that I need to constantly worry about them or how much I’m getting done.

You have to track what is out there and what needs to get done. Decide what needs to get done, and then make time for it. Schedule it. This is true whether you are trying to do something at work or in your own personal life.

It’s about prioritizing, getting the right things done that need to be done, and letting those things that could slide, slide. I know it sounds terrible… “Leave something undone?” but that is the goal. I’m trying to get back into a routine and it’s not sustainable for me to be constantly doing everything if I don’t have time, because then I will just fall behind even more.

It can’t all get done. There is always more work.

Why is writing an important thing to do then. Even if it’s just getting your thoughts down. How is that productive? When your feeling overwhelmed that is probably the least likely thing you would invest your precious time into.

But trust me. Letting the overwhelming flow out onto the page is probably the best thing for you. Get it all out. All those ideas. All those tasks. What really needs to be done? What can I let go of? Just write. It does not have to be neat. Actually, I would suggest pushing through. Don’t hit the backspace button. Don’t correct spelling. Just let the ideas flow. This is how you make breakthroughs in productivity. You get your ideas out and you will find that by doing this your mind will work through the best solutions for tackling the work.

It’s a common problem for people who want to start writing but feel they don’t have the time or energy. They get stuck between wanting to and starting.

Just sit down and write.

Write a sentence. Write a paragraph. You can always go back and edit it later, but if you don’t get started on that first draft your thoughts will never be complete.

Just write. It does not have to be neat. After you dedicate the time you will discover what is important and feel more capable of taking on your work.



Marc Sawyer

I’m an Architect. My favorite thing to do is create stories through architectural design. Founder of Whitewash Studio architecture firm in Atlanta, GA.