Overwhelm, anxiety and frustration are all signs that you’re taking on too many responsibilities – or the wrong type of things – in your life and business.
In this post, I want to give you a few simple tips you can use to reduce these feelings and take back the control over your emotions and over your life. This is especially important as you’ve got a Big Mission in life, and you have Big Goals to pursue in your business this year!
I’d suggest following the steps in the order they’re set out, to get the most use out of them.
If things are starting to get on top of you, or you feel anxious about your situation, it’s important to take a break. Hit pause, even for a few moments, before you react out of panic and do something you might later regret.
When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, your body will naturally start to release adrenaline, which causes the “fight or flight” reaction. This is not helpful in most situations – unless your life is really in danger in which case you should definitely get out of there!
In most cases, even though your brain might feel like you’re being threatened, you might simply need to calm down, and take a few deep breaths. Get some oxygen flowing around your body, slow your heart rate down, so you can think calmly and rationally.
- MAKE A LIST
Once you’ve calmed your thoughts for a few moments, grab some paper and a pen, and write down everything you think you need to do.
Get absolutely everything out of your head, and down in black and white in front of you. Some people call this a “brain dump” or a to do list. However you choose to write it, once everything is written out, you can start to evaluate it properly.
Now that you’ve got your list of tasks, look at them and decide which are the two or three most urgent and important tasks. Which jobs must get done today, by you, or the world will end? Number the remaining tasks in order of importance, from “potentially life-threatening” to “nobody would notice if this didn’t get done”.
Remember that what might be important for you in the longer term (the projects which will lead to you achieving your Big Goals, for example) may not be as important or urgent right now. In that case you will have to weigh up how important you think the other tasks are in relation to your Big Goal.
On your list of tasks, are there any which could feasibly be done by someone else, or which should belong to someone else? There probably are!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a habit of taking on other people’s responsibilities out of a sense of duty/martyrdom, or wanting to make sure they get done perfectly. Now is the time to learn to let go of perfectionism and let other people step up and take responsibility for their own duties.
Delegate what you can, and empower others to prove that they have what it takes to deliver.
There are likely to be some tasks on your list which can either be dropped completely or kicked into the long grass and forgotten. In that case, delete these from your list and move on. Life’s too short to spend on insignificant things, and your time is super precious!
- ASK FOR HELP
If you still have a feeling of overwhelm or anxiety after you’ve cut down your list, then there might be an underlying problem which you’ll need to deal with before you can move forwards.
If you can find a coach or mentor to talk things through with, that will help speed up the process and get you back on track as quickly as possible. Many of my clients struggle for ages on their own before they realise that the sensible thing is to accept that they need help, and ask for it.
Now that you’ve got your much shortened list of priorities (I’d recommend no more than 3-5 tasks per day), it’s time to get to work. There are an abundance of productivity tips you can use to get things done in a shorter time, but the most important thing is to GET STARTED! Once you’ve “eaten the frog”, you’ll feel so much more fulfilled and life will seem brighter again.
- STOP PROCRASTINATING
If you simply can’t seem to get started on your important tasks, or if you keep finding other things to do instead of what you think you should be doing (cup of tea, anyone?), then you may have a procrastination problem.
Procrastination is one of the biggest productivity (and profit) killers in business, and it can strike at any time, to anyone. I provide a specialist short session called Procrastination Extermination, which zeroes in on your personal reasons for procrastinating and helps you to move past the blocks that are holding you back. Clients have said this is “life-changing”, so if this is a problem for you, you should definitely contact me about it.
- REWARD YOURSELF
One of the most important things to remember when you achieve something is to “integrate the success”. This helps to encourage you and motivate you to work through the tougher times, and increases your happiness levels. In practical terms, when you tick something off your to-list, make sure you reward yourself in some way. This could mean pouring yourself a glass of your favourite beverage, doing a happy dance or going out and getting pampered.
However you choose to reward yourself, make sure you enjoy each and every win, before you get caught up in working on the next task.
- SHARE YOUR SUCCESS
Another way to motivate yourself to continue ticking things off your list is by sharing your successes with colleagues, friends and even your social media audience. Everyone loves a happy story, so if you’ve managed to finally beat procrastination or shake off a stressful situation, then feel free to share it with as many people as you like.
One place in which you can definitely share your wins is my Facebook group, Mindful Entrepreneurs. It’s completely free to join, and a very supportive community for business owners and creative entrepreneurs who are on a mission to spread more happiness and abundance in the world, with less stress and more financial success.
BONUS: AVOID OVERWHELM IN THE FUTURE
Now that you’ve managed to shrug off your feeling of overwhelm (hurrah!), it’s time to take steps to stop it happening again.
Fortunately, you can do this by keeping track of your tasks, and scheduling them into your calendar in advance as they come up. That way, you’ll be able to control your time, making sure you’re not surprised by a sudden backlog of projects. I use google calendar for this, but there are a multitude of other planners and organisational tools available!
If it looks like things are going to get super busy, make sure you block some down time into your schedule too. Your mental health is one of the most important things on your life, and stress can really affect it, so the more aware you can be of the things that trigger stress and overwhelm in your life, the happier and more relaxed you can be.