Overwhelm is one of the most common reasons businesses fail to succeed.
It creates stress, which leads to burnout, and a slew of health problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and multiple other long-term effects.
First, I want to say that we all feel overwhelmed from time to time.
So let me ask you this: What do you think of or see in your mind when you envision a big, beautiful forest?
Maybe that forest is on the side of a mountain with abundant wildlife basking in the glory of it’s surroundings; maybe you see a whole color pallete of birds fluttering and playing from branch to branch;
maybe you see waterfalls cascading down and throughout those trees;
Whatever you see, it’s pretty magical isn’t it?
Now imagine viewing that same scene as smoke lurks just over the hill, flames threatening animals who are running aimlessly, not knowing where to turn or how to escape.
It’s not so magical anymore is it?
This is what it’s like when you are completely overwhelmed; at least it is for me. My mind is racing… I try to escape, but don’t know where to turn. I can smell my own fear and my world all of a sudden, starts to close in on me. When we’re in overwhelm, our viewpoint changes, and we start operating out of high alert fear, instead of taking a step back and weighing out our options.
Think about it:
I know as a solopreneur how easy it is to overload one’s self. We as leaders have high expectations and think we are way more capable than we truly are. We think that we need to be superheros, in order to gain that respect… that confidence… that friendship that we all crave.
When I’m overloaded, I leave the office stressed and anxious because I can never seem to keep anything straight enough in my head to get it all done. I always run out of time. That leaves me feeling stressed, stuck, and scattered and that’s when the excuses come right? Excuses why we’re not doing the things that are really needed; or why it’s not the right time; or why we’ve just been so busy, we just can’t seem to commit!
Have you ever caught yourself cleaning your desk or the bathroom at 2 in the afternoon instead of putting your focus on that deadline that’s due in a week?
Or how about searching for that friend on Facebook that you just HAVE to get back to right now, and two hours later, you’re still on there, wondering how you got there, and where all the time went!?
When you have a lot going on and don’t have clarity around your priorities, it creates utter chaos. Don’t worry, because there are a few things you can do when you get that wave of overwhelming heaviness in your chest that can reverse stress and many health symtoms:
1) Let go of the need to be perfect and approach that first step with compassion and curiosity.
Start with ONE thing you can do right now, and go for CLOSE ENOUGH instead.
ONE thing, and then let your intuition guide you to the next step
2) Lose the word ALWAYS, such as “I’m always STRESSED”. I’m always SO busy. I’m always running BEHIND.
Chances are, you are NOT always any of those things, but using the word will increase your perception that you ARE, and therefore you probably WILL be; which becomes a natural state that you associate yourself with. Instead, start saying “I get busy, but I’m working on ways to keep it under control”, “I feel overwhelmed right now, but a small step in the right direction will take care of that.”, “I can only do what I can only do right now, no more and no less. I am fully capable and know my boundaries.”
3) Finally, Make a list! – a list of everything that’s in your head. This list will have 2 columns: One of the tasks that NEED to be done. , and one of the tasks that DON’T need to be done… at least not right away, or not by you.
When we can take the things swirling around from inside our brains to see them in front of us (I benefit more when it’s on paper), it is freeing. You can then see your top 3 non-negotiable priorities easier and with more clarity. You know… those tasks that REALLY need to get done; not the ones that other people think you should get done.
We get overwhelmed when we can’t identify, prioritize and focus – and that’s when the excuses will come out. Want my own custom lists to help you with your overwhelm? Not only will these lists help you to clear the clutter, but they will help you with your time management as well.
One is my GET to do list,and one is my DON’T do list. I say GET todo, because let’s face it: Having a business that makes you money is a privilege right? So shouldn’t your priority tasks that help you to grow in that business become a privilege as well? When you have a list for your business that you GET to do, it shifts you from dread to eagerness, which will sustain you longer. Your DON’T do list helps you to identify the items and tasks that you can either throw away, give to someone else, or do at another time. Get them off your shoulders and you will feel a whole lot lighter than you’ve ever felt before, I promise!