A little overwhelm can be good at times. It can mean a sign of growth or a warning signal that something needs to change.
When left ignored, overwhelm festers and grows. It can eat away at you causing sleepless nights, mood swings, depression, loss of income and so on.
Overwhelm = Stress
Stress plays a huge role in our daily lives and on our health and well being. Left unchecked, that simple case of overwhelm can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
That’s when overwhelm becomes chaotic.
Can you say yes to any of these?
- Working 10 – 16+ hour days
- Working 6 – 7 days a week
- Your to-do list is growing faster than you can check things off
- Balls are getting dropped
- Clients and customers are getting angry
- You’re losing money
- You can’t grow your business because you just can’t take on any more
- You barely sleep
- You either don’t eat or you eat too much
- You don’t spend time with family or on self-care
- You are consumed by everything on your plate
- You’re ready to throw in the towel
About 7 years ago, I said yes to every single one of those and probably a bunch more. I had taken on far more than I could handle in my business plus I had my family to care for and I was in the middle of a divorce.
If I was away from my computer for even 10 minutes I felt guilty because those 10 minutes could have been spent on sending an email or working on a webpage.
I was making careless mistakes as I rushed through projects trying to get caught up. I had to give clients discounts because I either screwed up or was so behind they were ready to leave.
I was working my butt off with nothing to show for it.
I hated my business. I wanted to close up shop.
I Found a Way Out
I had enough. I needed to create a plan to not only get rid of the chaos in my life but to keep it from coming back.
I Conquered Overwhelm and You Can Too
If you’re drowning in a sea of overwhelm, I’m here to throw you a life preserver.
It won’t happen overnight, but just taking a few simple steps in the right direction will make a massive difference.
- Take a mental health day. If you’ve been working endlessly with no downtime, you need to take some time for yourself. Take a day or two to rest and recharge. Spend time with your family. Reflect on why you started your business in the first place. Holding on to my WHY really helped get me through some very tough times in my business.
- Make a list and prioritize. Get everything down on paper that needs to get done. Do a massive brain dump. Or better yet, I like to use sticky notes. One sticky note per task and then you can easily arrange them into categories.Begin prioritizing the most important things first. Next to each task or project, put an estimate of how long it should take to complete.Example:Write article: 45 minutes
Post to blog: 15 minutes
Create newsletter: 30 minutes
Work on launch plan: 2 hoursThis will allow you to do step 3.
- Create a plan. Based on your priority list, you can start formulating a timeline to complete things. Push back due dates on whatever is possible. Remember not everything has to get done right away, contrary to what others may think. Focus on one day at a time.
- Don’t take on new projects. During this time, as tempting as it may be, do not take on any new projects or clients. At least not immediately. Look at your timeline and then you can give a realistic expectation on when you can get started with them.
- Get help. The truth is, you just cannot do it all by yourself. You need help. Both in personal and business worlds. Hire a Virtual Assistant to help take some of the workload off your plate. Get a housekeeper or enlist the kids to help with household chores. Reach out and ask for help. Even in small doses it helps tremendously.
- Communicate. This is important. Let your clients know what’s happening. I find that honesty truly is the best policy. Once you have your plan and your timeline in place, then you can go to your clients and say, “Hey…I screwed up. I’m in overwhelm. Here’s my plan to not only get caught up, but to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”Share your plan, as it affects them. They will be far less upset if you’re honest and they can see that you are taking action than if you just keep them in the dark.
- Get a management system in place. This is really important if you deal with a lot of moving pieces and parts. Virtual Assistants – this is crucial for you! If your business has a lot going on, and you have team members, etc. you need a central location for everything to live. I recommend Teamwork because you can get incredibly organized with it.You need something that will keep track of all the moving pieces in your business.
- Create work/life boundaries. This is so important. You must have downtime from working. Even if you’re like me and you’re a workaholic, that downtime gives your mind and body a chance to rest and recoup.I stop working around 5pm each night. I rarely work weekends unless it’s early in the morning and it’s on my own business. I have started taking a 2 week vacation each year. I don’t check email on my phone very often.Clients know not to reach out to me via text or messenger past a certain time.I have had to create these boundaries so that I can have balance in my life. And it makes me far more productive.
- Take time for self– Nothing is going to get done if you get sick. You need to make time for yourself. Your family deserves it, your business deserves it and most importantly, YOU deserve it.I go to the gym almost every day. That is my sacred ME time. On weekends when the weather is nice I am out hiking. That is time that is really important to my health. I don’t have time to be sick so it’s up to me to take the steps needed to ensure I am at my optimal health.
- Stop stressing! When you start stressing about deadlines and whatnot, it puts your body into fight or flight mode which creates even more stress. Here’s a mantra for you…Don’t worry about what you can’t control because you can’t control it. Don’t worry about what you can control because you can control it.Worrying is a waste of time. If it’s out of your control, what is worrying and stressing going to accomplish? If it’s in your control, do something about it!
You didn’t get into this situation overnight and you’re not going to get out of it overnight. Small steps add up. Breathe. Take it one day at a time.
Pretty soon you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’re really feeling stuck and just don’t have a clue how to even get started and need help, let’s talk.
Together we will get you started on a plan of action to get out of your overwhelm.