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Overcoming Overwhelm in Business: A 5-Step Guide to Reset

You’re standing on a beach with a 20-story-high tsunami coming at you. What’s your terror level on a scale of 1 to 10?

Have you ever felt the same way standing confronting your to-do list? I believe we call that “overwhelm”.

Here’s a thought: Feeling overwhelmed doesn’t mean you’re inefficient. It means you're pushing boundaries. Your boundaries.

Just saying that changes how I feel inside - how about you?  Suddenly, you’re not the victim. You’re the superhero.

You can say with confidence, “I’m a boundary pusher.” You are someone who likes a challenge. 

How much can I do? How fast can I do it?

Being overwhelmed in business is more common than you think. Understanding why we feel overwhelmed is the key to overcoming it.

(Hint: This is where you put on your cape).

Steps To Overcoming Overwhelm

I’m consistently taking on too much because I want to do it all.

Superhero syndrome, loud and clear. 

What's your reason for pushing those boundaries?

If you’re going to be a Superhero, you have to be smart about it. You may be beyond capable, but you also must be wise enough to set yourself up to bring your greatest strengths and clearest thinking into whatever you do.  

Let’s put some smart guidelines in place to enable you to do what you do in all your brilliance without driving yourself crazy: 

Guideline #1: Prioritize Ruthlessly 

Not all tasks are created equal. Focus on what moves the needle forward to places that matter.

  • Try doing a brain dump and put everything you need to do onto a piece of paper. Don’t stop until there are no more.

  • Now, highlight the things that will honestly make a difference in your business TODAY. Choose 3. Yes, only 3. Do those.

This is you simplifying, stepping into your Superhero self. 

There’s still a lot on that list. Lucky for you, even Superheroes have sidekicks.

Guideline #2: Work Toward doing only what you love

You don't have to do everything yourself. Trust your team or find freelancers.

  • Here are three life-saving words: Ask. For. Help There’s no shame in it. Chances are, someone is bored and looking for something different to do. This frees you up to give your best to what you genuinely care about doing.

  • Use AI, such as Chat GPT, to give you ideas or lay the foundation for research. It’s a tremendous help and will save you tons of time. The beauty of AI is not that it does your work for you. The beauty is that it can support your work in a hundred different ways. Go ahead. Ask it, and it will tell you how it can help.  (Seriously - ask it.)

It may even tell you that you are lacking the following discipline…

Guideline #3: Set your perimeter. Don't be shy

Boundary pushers sometimes find this a crucial skill - it’s about, well, setting their boundaries. In other words...learn to say no. 

Your time and energy are finite resources.

  • Yes, Superheroes have their limits. Let’s say someone needs something right here, right now, that you know you can provide with flair. However, you have other priorities on your plate for the day. What do you do?  Say you’ll be glad to help, but ask for a couple of days. Tell them you’re swamped. If they want you badly enough, they’ll negotiate.

  • Food for thought: Consider your goals and your role description. Where must you focus your time and energy if you are going to achieve what you most desire for this year? Once you have the answer to that question, reverse engineer your time. How much must you accomplish this month to reach that goal? How about this week? If there are items on your to-do list that will interfere with these most critical goals, take action. Give them away or simply scrap them.

Every now and then, picture yourself at the finish line of those most important goals. But then, picture yourself not getting there because you are burned out. 

Don’t take that risk.

Instead…read on.

Guideline #4: Take regular breaks

Short breaks can boost productivity and creativity.

  • I'm a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minutes of work, stop for 5 to shift focus and then back to another 25 until the deed is done. Here’s a link to a great free  Pomodoro timer with an alarm and everything.

  • Step away from your desk, your business, and your infamous to-do list to re-enter your personal life every day. Take your weekend. Indulge in hugs, downtime, laughter and whatever other refreshing activities will bring back the joy to your life.  Work will be there when you get back. But not the overwhelm.

Guideline #5: Keep Talking 

Keep talking. Bottling up and denying will keep you locked into overwhelm, for sure.

  • Hire a Coach A coach will help keep you on track in your business life and in your personal life. You’ll be astounded at how much easier it will be to tick off that to-do list while enjoying the by-product of feeling purposeful.  A good Coach will do all this and more for you.

  • At the very least, talk things through with a mentor or colleague who can provide new perspectives and help you shake out some solutions.

Use Overwhelm Instead of being Overcome By It

Maintaining progress without slipping back into overwhelm requires vigilance. 

You’ll start noticing you can’t focus. Anxiety will build. You may even reach frantic.

Low energy, headaches, snapping at people… 

Ok, Superhero, if this is happening, it means it’s time to reassess. Overwhelm has caught up to you again, and you need to take back the reins.  

I make it a point to review my workload weekly and adjust as needed. And remember, it's okay to ask for help.

Shrinking that ominous tsunami into a fun surfing wave is not just about managing your to-do list; it's about managing your mindset. And overcoming overwhelm.

Greatness is waiting. You’ve got this.

I'd love to hear how you've dealt with business overwhelm. Share your tips and let's learn from each other!

And, if you’d like a K.I.S.S. to help you through every week, sign up for my Keep It Super Simple (K.I.S.S.) Business Strategy of the week at Passion & Pen Business Foundations. Believe me, your growth is my pleasure.


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