4 Ways To Overcome The Overwhelm of Online Course Creation

4 Ways To Overcome The Overwhelm of Online Course Creation

course starter kit combo

Get The FREE Course Creation Starter Kit

“Creating online courses means producing content for the millions; a prospect that can freeze course creators in their tracks” Click To Tweet


Whether it’s the first course you’ve created online, or your 1000 th , there’s nothing quite like creating something that has the potential for millions of people to access and benefit from.

Despite the excitement of this prospect, it can also incite fear and overwhelm into a course creator and freeze them in their tracks.  So much to learn, so much to do, so much to connect together and so many course creation mojo-killing thoughts whizzing around their heads and making it all seem like just a little bit too much.

In this article, Edupreneur of 11 years, Sarah Cordiner, will share 5 tips to help reduce the risk of overwhelm during your course creation process.

1. Don’t let the amount of content overwhelm you

Most edupreneurs and course creators that I work with don’t have the problem of not having enough content; usually they have too much. One of the biggest problems that we have to solve is not what needs to be added to our courses, but actually what needs to be taken out. Click To Tweet So how do we solve this?

  • Go back to your learning outcomes – if a piece of information does not directly help the learner obtain the learning outcome, then leave it out.  
  • Break it down into its smallest parts.  The brain can only process so much at a time.  Rather counter intuitively, the smaller the course is, the more effective it is and the higher the completion rates are going to be.  
  • Decide whether your program will be better if you actually make multiple mini-courses instead of one huge course.  It also provides more options from a pricing perspective.  
  • Create an ‘appendices’ or ‘bonus’ section in each course that houses all of the extra content.  
  • Cut the text down.  Replacing your long form text files with checklists, bullet point lists and simple cheat sheets. This will be far more useful and consumable to your learners.  
Don’t feel like you have to cram an entire lifetime worth of knowledge and expertise into one course - save some for other courses too. Click To Tweet

2.     Avoid being overwhelmed by how much there is to do

When we see a beautiful painting, it is difficult to imagine all of the the miniscule steps, brush strokes and stages that went into creating it.  All we see is the end result and assume that the artist sat down with a paint brush, and voila, it was done.

Similarly, many online course creators think that they have to paint a Picasso from the first stroke and then feel completely overwhelmed when each stroke uncovers yet another skill that they don’t have yet.

Don’t focus so much on the finished piece that getting there seems almost impossible. Remind yourself to break every single tiny stage down into micro steps; into easy, manageable, achievable little actions and tick off your progress each time a little step is completed.

3.     Create actionable tasks

I created an activity years ago when I was teaching goal setting. It’s all about illustrating the power of breaking up a big task into the smallest parts. I call it the ‘Draw a Dragon Technique.’


It’s simple – I ask my class to draw a dragon purposely without giving them any instructions whatsoever. Expectedly, all of the dragons come out looking completely different.  Some have angry dragons, some are happy, some are cartoon like. Some have gone for a realistic approach, some have done facial close ups and others have included the entire dragon body. Some pictures look like a spider got drunk, fell in an inkwell and ran around on their page.  At this stage there is always an interesting vibe of mixed emotions hanging in the air.

This is because I set them a task without addressing their existing (or non-existent) artistic abilities.  I also gave them no road map as to how to get there, didn’t tell them where the major milestones were. Nor did I signal what the progress milestones looked like.  I also gave them no benchmark or criteria as to what the finished piece needed to look like.  With that in mind, it’s pretty obvious that we get a room full of more frustration, distress and strife, than of driven, focused results.


Next I give everyone a new piece of paper and ask them to follow me one line at a time. I cannot be assured that everyone in the room is a natural artist, nor do I have time to train them to be.  However, I know that I can teach them how to draw a straight line.  And once I’ve taught them that, I know I can teach them to put 3 together to make a triangle. Line by line and triangle by triangle, everyone in the room ends up with a picture of a dragon that all look very similar to each other.


When I ask the class how that went the second time around, the solid response every time is a resounding ‘easy’; ‘So simple my kid could do that, and I could show them how.’  The mood in the room is palpably different.  I look at the group who are admiring their pictures proudly, quite surprised at how something so easy could produce a result that was far better than the first attempt they made.


If we go to a blank page and try to jump straight to the end result, we will suffer immediate overwhelm.  The journey isn’t clear, our brain cannot fathom how it will get there and we start displaying numerous types of ‘avoid this’ behaviour. It is impossible to jump from starting to write a book, to having a whole book complete, without having to write it one letter at a time.


We need to break down our goal or task down so that we can train our brain to not see the entire novel that needs writing, but simply just the next letter.


Break every element of your course creation down into its smallest part so that it becomes a step by step journey. Suddenly course creation doesn’t seem like such a mountain to climb.

4. Controlling a large to-do list

Another thing that can cause overwhelm is the existence of a really big to-do list.  This is why I like to draw out a journey or a map instead of a massive long list that will just make me feel like I’m in a race that I can never win.

I like to get post-it notes to begin with and brain-dump every task I can think of, then stick them up on the wall in order of what needs to be done first from left to right – a simplified project plan or timeline so to speak.

This can really help you see exactly what steps you need to take next to move along that timeline, and very easily see yourself progressing along it, instead of feeling like you are getting nowhere on an ever-growing to-do list. Time to create your timeline and obliterate the overwhelm!

Final thoughts:

Whether you have too much content, a task too big for yourself or your students, or just a to-do list that seems to stretch into the sunset, remember these steps to defeat the overwhelm that often accompanies course creation.

If you would like to ‘Awaken Your Course Creation Mojo’, do check out my latest book which will be sure to help you beat procrastination and fire up your course creation motivation.

If you need an extra bit of support, you can take my online course ‘How To Create Profitable Online Courses’ which will walk you through the process step by step, or you can hire the experts to just do it all for you.

About The Author: Sarah Cordiner

A four-times international number 1 best-selling author, TV host, Podcaster, qualified educator and professional speaker.’

Huffington Posts’ ‘Top 50 Must-Follow Female Entrepreneur for 2017’. 11 years in business & education, over 10,000 students in 131 countries and multiple awards – Sarah is a consultant and Trainer in e-Learning and workforce training and development.Web:


Website: www.sarahcordiner.com
Youtube: https://sarahcordiner.com/youtube
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahcordiner
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CordinerSarah
Entrepreneur to EDUpreneur Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/entrepreneur2edupreneur/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cordinersarah
Google+: www.google.com/+SarahCordinerEDU

Special Deals & Free Trials on my FAVOURITE Tech Tools & Software!

Click on the images below to get more information about the deals.

TekMatix is the market-leading all-in-one online business and course platform.

It is your course platform, website, blog, email marketing software, customer record management system, social media planner and auto-posting tool, calendar booking software, paid ads manager, sales manager and much much more. FIND OUT MORE HERE

AppSumo: Tech deals for business tools

Podcast.co Podcast hosting & distribution

Thinkific: Learning Management System

Interact: Quiz making tool

New Zenler: Learning Management System

LearnWorlds: Learning Management System

Camtasia: Video Recording & Editing

Canva: Graphic Design

VideoAsk: Interactive Video Funnels

ActiveCampaign: Email Marketing & CRM

Kajabi: Learning Management System

Podia: Learning Management System

StreamYard: Livestream To Multiple Channels

Stunning.co: Auto-Recover Failed Stripe Payments

SamCart: eCommerce & Course Sales Funnels

Systeme: All-in-one Online Course Platform

BookBolt: Create & Publish Journals on Amazon

TubeBuddy: YouTube Analytics & Competitor Data

Pensight: Get Paid for Meetings & Calls

Fiverr: Freelancers & Cheap Services

HeySummit: Host Summits and conferences

Creative Fabrica: Graphics, Illustrations and Images

Envatoelements: Unlimited Commercial Use Video Clips, B-roll, Audio, Music, Sound Effects

Trello: Organisation and Productivity

Loom: Record your screen and face videos

Course creation equipment that I recommend on Amazon

Get the FREE Course Creation Starter Kit

Receive regular course creation advice, tips and in-depth tutorials.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

5 Ways To Build Your Online Business

Start Changing Lives Today

Taking your knowledge out of your head and turning it into a profitable online business.

Dramatically increase your industry reputation, reach a global audience, gain a passive income and impact people's lives all over the world.

Let me help you create and publish your online course and build a highly successful online business - the easy way!

Here are 5 ways that I can help you become a well-respected leader in your industry:

starter kit gold

FREE: Course Creation Starter Kit

Get your FREE Course Creation Starter Kit! Everything you need to turn your passion, expertise & knowledge into a profitable online course, lift your global credibility & make a passive income!

Get Your FREE Starter Kit Now
Edupreneur Academy

The Edupreneur Academy

For those who are ready to take their entire online business to the next level.  Get monthly live masterminds, monthly challenges and immediate access to over 50+ online courses and books as you progress along the 'Edupreneur's Success Journey'.

create profitable online courses

Self-Study Online Program

Get LIFETIME access to my self-study online course that takes you through every step of creating and launching your own profitable online course.  Great for those who love to learn independently at their own pace.  Just $97!


Concept To Course

Create and launch your online course or membership in just 30 days in my course creation group coaching program.  Daily support, live calls, group learning and massive results, fast! 

done for you course creation set up

Done-For-You Services

Why not just hand it over to the experts? I can create your course plans, set up your online school, create slides, connect all of your technology & software, create your email automations and more.

Book a Call

Book a Call with Me

If you have a number of questions, want one-on-one tech help or would just rather have a chat and guidance from me directly, you can book a call with me here.


Latest Articles by Sarah Cordiner