Overwhelm is something that everybody suffers from at some point, so it’s about having strategies to overcome it. When I asked my Facebook group what they were currently struggling with, overwhelm was the most frequent answer.
These are my 6 steps to overcome overwhelm and take action in your business.
Step One – Do a brain dump.
I know loads of you will be thinking it just another thing ‘to do’ and you’re already overwhelmed, but this is going to help.
When you do a brain dump it means that everything you’re thinking about gets out of your head and on to paper. You don’t have to worry about remembering it all. If you’re trying to remember 1001 things you need to do in your business, plus all your personal stuff and household stuff…. well, no wonder you feel overwhelmed!
You can use a notebook, Notes on your phone, a blank document on your laptop, whatever works for you. But I do recommend having a way of recording your thoughts wherever you are. It means that if you’re out and about and think of something you need to do; you can write it straight down and then forget about it. I have notebooks everywhere plus I have a Notes document that links on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to do this all in one go; sit down now and start writing everything that comes into your head and then add to it as things pop into your head over the next few days.
Have a business list and a personal list – just get as much out of your head as you can.
Step Two – Work out your Money-Making tasks.
Out of all of those things that you’ve written down, about 10% of them are actually going to make you money in your business. The other 90% are going to be ‘busy’ tasks – the things you think you should be doing, rather than what your business needs you to do to grow.
For each thing you’ve written down, ask yourself “is this going to bring money in?”.
If the answer is yes, mark this with the number 1 or a colour. If it is a no, but it will improve my visibility or increase my audience etc, mark it with a number 2 or another colour. If it’s no, it’s just something I would like to do in the future, mark it with a number 3 or a third colour.
Step Three – Are you trying to do too much?
You can overwhelm yourself by trying to be superwoman. When you’ve got loads and loads of things that you want to do and they’re all in your head spinning round, it can get messy.
A lot of the time this can be caused by comparisonitis. You see ‘everyone else’ doing all these things and you think you need to do it all as well. But most of the time you’re comparing their middle with your start.
You need to be realistic about what you actually have time to do. When you see others on every social media channel, blogging, sending newsletters, on podcasts and on YouTube you’ve got to remember that they will need a team behind them to do all that consistently. They will be further into their business journey than you. And, I bet that when they started, they didn’t do half of what they’re doing now.
Have a look at what are you doing. What are you enjoying doing? Where are you getting results? Where do you think you’re stretching yourself too thin? Or not doing consistently?
It’s better to put your heart and soul into one or two things and do them amazingly, rather than spread yourself thin across many tasks and do them badly. Don’t think that you have to be on every social media channel, pick one or two where your customers are and concentrate on those. If you hate blogging and it’s not gaining you any business, stop blogging. Put the information into a weekly newsletter instead.
Step Four – Have a plan.
Planning is also important, especially if you’ve already got a finite amount of time.
Time blocking is what I recommended to my clients. You can do this weekly or daily by planning in your non-negotiables like client work, meetings, lunch etc. Then plan in other must do activities like social media scheduling, writing your email newsletter etc. Then with the time remaining, plan in ONE of the priority 1 tasks from your brain dump. If you are planning a week at a time, you may be able to tick off more than one task from your brain dump but start by planning on one first. Split the task in to small, manageable tasks. For example, if you were planning to set up a Facebook advert, you would have tasks such as write the copy, choose images to split test, build lookalike audience in Facebook Ads Manager. You wouldn’t just block “Make FB Ad”.
Make sure you leave contingency spaces during the week in case a task takes longer than first anticipated.
Now you have your week mapped out, you don’t waste time on thinking what you need to do. You can sit down to work and start straight away. You also won’t waste brain power on thinking about what you have to do next. You can concentrate on each individual task and give it your full attention.
Step Five – Cut off distractions.
Does your PC or laptop have 101 tabs open on it? Do you have your email and social media accounts open? You need to be disciplined and close them.
If you are distracted by notifications every time an email comes in, or you get a ping from a social media account, your productivity is going to drop by up to 50%. Turn your phone onto silent and turn it over, or even better – put it on aeroplane mode. Close all the tabs on your computer other than the one you’re working in.
Make sure you have time blocked time for answering emails and responding to social media and stick to those time.
Make sure your workspace is as quiet and distraction free as possible. Before you start work, do you have everything that you need in easy reach?
Step Six – Outsource.
This is the one most people resist the most. You might think you can’t afford to outsource or that you’re not ready to hand over work to someone else – what if they do it wrong?
The first thing I advise to outsource is cleaning. You can get a cleaner for £12-£15 per hour. If you start off with just 2 hours every other week that’s just £48-£60 per month. But just imagine what you could get done in those 4 hours a month. I bet you could make more money than the cleaner costs!
You can hire a VA for around £15 per hour and outsource all those jobs that you don’t enjoy such as your email newsletter or designing things in Canva. You can even get a tech VA who can set up all your technical stuff such as sales funnels and automated messaging etc.
I hope you will put some, if not all, of these steps into practice. I would love to know how you get on. Let me know what is working for you. Also, let me know your ONE thing that you’re going to get done this week.