This past week I felt out of control.
I had a task list that never seemed to get shorter, spent too much time on trivial items, and felt like a failure. Wasn’t the point of owning a business supposed to be about less stress? I didn’t know what to do.
Does this sound like you?
Do you also feel like you’ve gotten nothing done, even though you just stayed up until 2 am? Do you avoid looking at your to-do list or emails? Do you want to give up?
Yes, yes, and yes was my answer last week to those questions. But you know what, it’s not going to happen again.
Here’s my top 3 tips to avoid feeling overwhelmed (and a free download):
- Breathe. Push that chair back away from the desk, sit up straight, and take a few deep breaths. Stretch if you’ve been sitting for too long, then take a short walk, even if it’s just to go make a pot of coffee. Don’t think about the workload but don’t force your thoughts on other things. Just let them wander. And just keep breathing.
- Now look at your to-do list and start prioritizing. You can download this sheet to help you.
I print out 3 sheets and use one for the day, one for the week, and one for the month. Fill them out with only 3 items in each quadrant. I tend to avoid adding anything more to the list because the point is to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Make sure you’re paying attention to what’s really important and urgent versus un-important and urgent. That’s where I trip up most of the time.
- Say no. Say no to the last minute request from a client. Say no to your mother in-law’s surprise visit. Say no to the girl scout selling cookies at your door (well, maybe say yes to the Tagalongs, yum). The point is, that you don’t have to say Yes to everything. You don’t have to go to every meeting or lead every project. You don’t have to clean every dish or make everyone’s bed. Say no to things that are just getting in the way of the important things.
Your sanity is worth a lot and you can’t produce good work if you’re overwhelmed, tired, and feeling negative. Print a few of these out and use them regularly. It’ll help keep you focused on the important and urgent tasks instead of miscellaneous to-dos.
Bonus Tip: Delegate. Don’t try to do it all alone. Do you need someone to watch the kids while you catch up? Ask a relative or trade sitting duties with a friend. Have two many projects? Why not get an assistant to take over duties you’d rather not do? The best know how to delegate work.
What’s your biggest tip you can give that will keep you from feeling overwhelmed? Can you share one instance that you were completely drowning? What helped you get back up for breath? Comment below or send me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great and productive day!