Overwhelm is one of the most common challenges for entrepreneurs.
No surprise, of course.
Business owners and entrepreneurs tend to have one thing in common:
They’re creative types with lots of great ideas and a deep desire to be of service in the world. (If you’re reading this, you’re probably that kind of person, too.) This means they are often challenged by the practical day-to-day stuff of life. To-do’s, organization, finances, getting things done. NONE of this comes easy to them! Overwhelm becomes a way of life.
Only problem is this:
Overwhelm leaves you emotionally drained, constantly feeling like you’ll never quite catch up.
As an entrepreneur, you might have to accept that you’ll be overwhelmed on a regular basis, but you can also take a few practical steps to overcome overwhelm. Here are five secrets I’ve learned along the way that have helped me get back on purpose in my daily life.
Overcoming Overwhelm Tip #1
Get out of the weeds
I was a shitty waitress.
Not a single night went by in any of the vast numbers of restaurants where I waited tables when I wasn’t totally in the weeds. If you’ve waitressed, then you know what it feels like. So much is happening so fast that you can’t even pause to regroup. (Don’t get me started on the nightmares I used to have after shifts like this!)
Many of us live our whole lives like this! We begin our day and just start reacting.
If this is you, then it’s time to get out of the weeds and into the habit of something I call Self-Summits. (In my Uplevel Your Life® Mastery Program and in Uplevel Academy™, my clients get a tool called the Sunday Summit™. Thousands of people now swear by this one practice!)
A Self-Summit (or Sunday Summit!) is a weekly 30-minute practice – Sundays are perfect! – during which you connect with your intentions, remind yourself of your goals, and get clear on your priorities. You look at the week ahead and:
• List your top three priorities (not your 57 to-do’s!) for the week.
• Get the breakthrough lessons for the week before.
• Schedule your work-out time, your writing time, your downtime, etc.
This one practice does wonders for keeping you on track.
Why? Because it doesn’t leave room for choice in the moment.
When creative types get to ask themselves, “Well, what do I feel like doing now?” you can pretty much bet that nothing good will come of it!
Hey, even if your week doesn’t work out exactly as planned, this is better than not having any plan at all!
Overcoming Overwhelm Tip #2
Project vs. Task
Is this your to-do list?
“Re-paint office. Create website. Write book. Eat healthy.”
If so, then it’s time to discern between a project and a task.
A project is something big…like a website. It looms like a monolith on your to-do list, with its own foreboding theme song that plays every time you glance at it.
A task, on the other hand, is something you can actually complete. Like, “Write bio.” Or “Call Photographer.”
Learn to break down your projects into tasks during your Self-Summits, and you’ll reduce your overwhelm by 77%!
Overcoming Overwhelm Tip #3
I make my clients set their goals so small that they sometimes roll their eyes at me.
I do this because most of the entrepreneurs I work with have never allow themselves the bold luxury of simply experiencing completion.
When you experience completion, then you can maintain your motivation. When you are always running to keep up with your 73-item to-do list, then you are prone to overwhelm and burn out. Make your goals and your to-do list small so that you can revel in getting complete!
Think of completion as an essential vitamin that makes you immune to overwhelm!
Overcoming Overwhelm Tip #4
Set the Timer
This will sound so simple and stupid that you’ll think, “Yea, yea yea. Got it. A timer. Duh.”
But hear me out!
Let’s say you’ve scheduled 2 hours to write Chapter 4 of your book. Set the timer for 55 minutes, and write. Don’t go one minute over or under. Take a five-minute break. Then set your timer for another 55 minutes.
When the clock is running, you won’t be as tempted to go downstairs to put the clothes in the dryer, or see if the mail has arrived. It’s an effective mind game that keeps your butt in the chair and your focus on the task. Even my most skeptical clients have become believers in the timer.
Overcoming Overwhelm Tip #5
Eliminate All-Or-Nothing Thinking
Many creative types see only two options:
Either be in-the-moment idea people, chaotic, and spontaneous…
Be a totally boring robot who never experiences love or joy.
This is called All-or-Nothing Thinking. It is also a Limiting Belief. It is downright untrue and even destructive, and it will keep you playing catch-up forever!
The trick to overcoming overwhelm is to play with these new habits. Tweak them so they work for YOU. Many people use all-or-nothing thinking as an excuse for not even trying. They give up on themselves way too quickly.
Don’t expect to be perfect when you first start digging out of overwhelm. But DO expect yourself to keep practicing these habits.